UK & World News
CPR Refusal Death: Woman 'Did Not Want Help'
The family of a woman who died after a nurse refused to perform CPR says she wanted to pass away without life-prolonging intervention.
Relatives of 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless said they do not plan to sue the Bakersfield, California retirement home where she died last week.
The family said they know the widely played 911 tape of a nurse ignoring a dispatcher's pleas to do CPR has caused widespread "concern". But they said the reports have been overblown.
In a statement the family says they regret that "this private and personal time has been escalated by the media".
City Fire department officials said Ms Bayless did not have a formal "do not resuscitate" (DNR) order on file that would legally have prevented medical professionals from performing CPR.
However her family said: "It was our beloved mother and grandmother's wish to die naturally and without any kind of life-prolonging intervention."
Nevertheless her death has prompted a police investigation.
In the 911 tape released publicly, Dispatcher Tracey Halvorson can be heard in a recording of the call pleading for the nurse to perform CPR.
After several refusals Ms Halvorson asks her to find a resident, a gardener or anyone not employed by the home to get on the phone, take her instructions and help the woman.
"Is there anybody that's willing to help this lady and not let her die," Ms Halvorson says on the 911 recording released by the Bakersfield Fire Department.
"Not at this time," said the nurse, who added that the home's rules prevented her from giving medical help to the woman.
The executive director of Glenwood Gardens, Jeffrey Toomer, defended the unidentified nurse's actions, saying she had followed policy.
He said in a statement: "In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community our practise 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."
He told KGET-TV that residents are informed of the policy and agree to it when they move in.
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a first-aid technique involving chest compressions and sometimes rescue breaths.