Dispatcher: “Is there anybody that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?” Nurse at retirement home: “Not at this time.”
Not at this time?
It seems to us that this is a sad time indeed when a trained nurse won't step up and provide CPR for an 87-year-old woman who has collapsed and is struggling to breathe.
This is what occurred at a Bakersfield retirement center on Feb. 26 as documented in a recently released 911 transcript and tape recording that has gone viral on the Internet.
But what's most troubling is not that the nurse, who remains unidentified, refused to help the struggling woman. It's that she was prevented from doing so.
The executive director of the Glenwood Gardens retirement complex in Bakersfield on Monday defended the nurse's inaction, saying that she was following company policy.
“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,” director Jeffrey Toomer said in a written statement. “That is the protocol we followed.”
Which essentially was a protocol that ensured the woman's demise.
One imagines that such non-intervention policies are the brainchildren of lawyers and insurance companies who see the downside of individuals stepping up and trying to help someone in need. Good Samaritans can quickly become victims of lawsuits in cases such as these.
But that's hardly justification for a company requiring a trained nurse to stand on the sidelines holding the phone while someone in plain view suffers. Why did the facility not have its own emergency response team in line and have a defibrillator on hand?
Health experts note that timing is critical in cases such as this, which is why dispatchers are trained to stay on the line and talk anyone available through the process of administering CPR until emergency crews arrive. Health experts note the odds of surviving such a health emergency increase by more than 75 percent when CPR is started right away, even by someone who is untrained.