An elderly California woman died after a nurse at her senior living facility refused to perform CPR, despite a 911 dispatcher begging her over the phone.
Instead, the nurse said the facility's policy prohibited her from stepping in to save the woman's life.
“It’s a human being,” dispatcher Tracey Halvorson said in 911 audio released by the Bakersfield, Calif. fire department, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?”
“Not at this time,” came the answer.
That was the scene Tuesday at Glenwood Gardens after 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless collapsed, KGET-TV reported. She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
But for more than seven minutes, the 911 dispatcher had tried to get someone to perform CPR until help arrived. With every passing moment, hope for Bayless' survival grew slimmer.
“Anybody there can do CPR. Give them the phone please. I understand if your facility is not willing to do that. Give the phone to that passerby,” Halvorson said. ”This woman is not breathing enough. She is going to die if we don’t get this started.”
The dispatcher even asked if there was a "gardener...can we flag someone down in the street and get them to help this lady?"
When asked if the nurse was just going to let the woman die, she replied, "That's why we called 911."
Glenwood Gardens released a statement to KGET saying protocol for employees is to call 911 for patient emergencies, not to perform CPR themselves.
"In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives. That is the protocol we followed," the statement said.
The facility promised to conduct a "thorough internal review" of the incident.
KGET confirmed the Bayless did not have a do-not-resuscitate order. Nevertheless, her daughter -- who is a nurse herself -- told the station she was satisfied with her mother's care at the facility.