Conduct unbecoming

CPR-phoneOn February 26, 2013, at 11:07 am, Lorraine Bayless went lifeless.  At the time of her collapse, she lived at Glenwood Gardens, a non-skilled nursing facility.

Although Glenwood Gardens was non-skilled, they did employ a Registered Nurse.

When Ms. Bayless collapsed, Glenwood Gardens’ RN was present and on duty, but refused to act due to employee policy, bewildering the 911 dispatcher and the world.

As nurses, our oath supersedes corporate and/or organizational policy.  We’re not judge, jury, and executioner; we don’t get to choose who does or doesn’t get medical assistance.

When Ms. Bayless went lifeless, she was a full code – she wasn’t a DNR.

The nurse who refused to perform CPR chose to withdraw care without the patient’s consent and acted in her best interest rather than that of the patient’s.

The nurse breached her duty and acted with unbecoming conduct, as she failed to act and advocate for Ms. Bayless when she couldn’t advocate for herself.

Statistically speaking, it was unlikely that Ms. Bayless could have been revived, even with immediate care, but this is inconsequential.

“Dispatcher: Are we just gonna let this lady die?”

After EMS arrived and provided appropriate life support, Ms. Bayless later died at a local hospital.

I don’t know if the nurse is still employed by Glenwood Gardens; and I don’t know if she still practices nursing, but I hope she lost her license for life and was held accountable.

It’s truly impossible to comprehend the gravity of the event unless you listen to the unedited 911 phone call, please listen to it below.  Also, I’ve provided you with a partial transcript of the 911 call – I’ve bolded segments of it for emphasis.

The call

Glenwood Gardens 911 call, Feb 26, 2013 (10.0MB)

Dispatcher: This woman’s not breathing enough. She’s gonna die if we don’t get this started. Do you understand?

Nurse: I understand. I am a nurse. But I cannot have our other citizens, who don’t know CPR, do it. We’re in a dining room.

Dispatcher: I will instruct them. Is there anyone there?

Nurse: I cannot do that.

Dispatcher: OK, is there anyone there who is willing to help this patient?

Nurse: I am, but…

Dispatcher: OK great, then I’ll walk you through it all. EMS takes the liability for this, Colleen. I’m happy to … OK? This is EMS protocol. OK?

Nurse: (To someone off the phone) I don’t know where he is. She’s yelling at me to have one of our other residents perform CPR. And I’m not gonna do that, and make that call.

Dispatcher: Colleen, is there anyone that works there that’s willing to do it?

Nurse: We can’t do that.

Dispatcher: Are we just gonna let this lady die?

Nurse: Well that’s why we’re calling 911.

Dispatcher: We can’t wait. She can’t wait right now. She is stopping breathing. She can’t wait for them to get there.

Nurse: She’s taken three breaths.

Dispatcher: It’s not enough. We need to get CPR started.

Nurse: (Chatter in background) He’s saying we don’t. You can talk to my boss, and I don’t know what to say.

Dispatcher: OK. (To someone off phone.) They’re refusing CPR, they’re gonna let her die. By the facility, yeah.

Nurse: When will the fire department be here? When will the ambulance…

Dispatcher: They’re coming. They’ve been on the way all this time but we can’t wait. This lady’s gonna die.

Nurse: Yeah.

Dispatcher: OK, well then if you get anybody, any stranger that happens to walk by that’s willing to help. I understand if your boss is telling you can’t do it. But if there’s any human being. … Is there anyone that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?

Nurse: Um, not at this time.

Dispatcher: (To someone off phone) They won’t. They won’t touch her at all. I can’t get anyone to touch her at all.

Nurse: We have residents that are…

Dispatcher: Any guests? Any guests that are there that are willing to help?

Nurse: No, I don’t have any.

Dispatcher: Is there a gardener, any staff? Anybody who doesn’t work for you anywhere? Can we flag someone down in the street and get them to help this lady. … Can we flag a stranger down? I bet a stranger will help her. I’m pretty good at talking them into it. If you can flag a stranger down I will help. I will tell them how to help her.

Nurse: (To someone off phone) She said not to move her. OK.

Dispatcher: Has anyone gone to look for a stranger?

Nurse: They’re (EMS) here right now.

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