Story by Lucy Valencia, Assignment Desk Editor - email
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Relatives of an 87-year-old woman who died after a nurse at her retirement home refused a 911 dispatcher's pleas to perform CPR expressed satisfaction with the care she received, saying her wishes were to die naturally. Meanwhile, the company that owns the facility now says its worker failed to follow proper procedures.
Lorraine Bayless' death last week at Glendale Gardens, a Bakersfield independent living facility, prompted outrage after a 7-minute recording of the 911 call was released. Brookdale Senior Living, which owns the facility, initially said its employee acted correctly by waiting until emergency personnel arrived. But late Tuesday, it issued a new statement saying the employee had misinterpreted the company's guidelines and was on voluntary leave while the case is investigated.
"This incident resulted from a complete misunderstanding of our practice with regards to emergency medical care for our residents," the Tennessee-based company said.
Shortly before Brookdale's clarification, Bayless' family sent The Associated Press a statement saying she was aware that Glenwood Gardens did not offer trained medical staff, but opted to live there anyway.
"It was our beloved mother and grandmother's wish to die naturally and without any kind of life prolonging intervention," the family said. "We understand that the 911 tape of this event has caused concern, but our family knows that mom had full knowledge of the limitations of Glenwood Gardens and is at peace."
The family said it would not sue or try to profit from the death, and called it "a lesson we can all learn from."
"We regret that this private and most personal time has been escalated by the media," the statement said.
Bayless collapsed in the Glenwood Gardens dining hall on Feb. 26. Someone called 911 on a cellphone and asked for an ambulance. Later, a woman who identified herself as a nurse got on the line and told dispatcher Tracey Halvorson she was not permitted to do CPR on the woman.
Halvorson implored the nurse to find someone else and said she would instruct them on how to do the procedure.
"I understand if your facility is not willing to do that," Halvorson said. "Give the phone to a passer-by. This woman is not breathing enough. She is going to die if we don't get this started, do you understand?"
By the time paramedics arrived, Bayless had stopped breathing.
Bakersfield fire officials who responded said Bayless did not have a "do not resuscitate" order on file at the home. The family and the company have not commented.
Glenwood Gardens is an independent living facility and as such Brookdale has said that by law it is "not licensed to provide medical care to any of its residents." But it added later that it was reviewing company policies "involving emergency medical care across all of our communities."
The woman who identified herself as a nurse was employed at the facility as a resident services director, the company said.
Bayless' death has prompted multiple investigations.
Bakersfield police are trying to determine whether a crime was committed when the nurse refused to help even find someone to perform CPR. The Kern County Aging and Adult Services Department is looking into possible elder abuse and the state Assembly's Aging and Long-term Care Committee is investigating to see whether legislation is needed.
The nation's largest trade group for senior living facilities has called for its members to review policies.
"It was a complete tragedy," said Maribeth Bersani, senior vice president of the Assisted Living Federation of America. "Our members are now looking at their policies to make sure they are clear. Whether they have one to initiate (CPR) or not, they should be responsive to what the 911 person tells them to do."
The California Board of Registered Nursing is concerned that the woman who spoke to the 911 dispatcher did not even respond to requests to find someone who might want to help.
"If she's not engaged in the practice of nursing, there's no obligation (to help)," agency spokesman Russ Heimerich said. "What complicates this further is the idea that she wouldn't hand the phone over either. So that's why we want to look into it."
Email Alert Sign Up
Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.
BLYTHE, Calif. (13 On Your Side) - Police are looking for the person who shot a man riding his bicycle. It happened Friday night at around 11:00 pm. Police say a 42-year-old man was riding his bicycleMore >>
Police are looking for the person who shot a man riding his bicycle.More >>
YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - We have an update on the missing 19-year-old who hasn't been heard from in more than four months. The woman police wanted to question in regards to Emily Hieber's disappearanceMore >>
We have an update on the missing 19-year-old who hasn't been heard from in more than four months.More >>
SAN LUIS, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - San Luis firefighters and police teamed up to help five people injured in a single-car roll over early this morning. It happened at around 4:00 am in the desert areaMore >>
San Luis first responders helped five people injured in a truck that flipped over early this morning. More >>
CALEXICO, CA (13 On Your Side) - Police continue to search for the body of an 18-year-old teenager who drowned while swimming in the All-American Canal. It's been four days since the 18-year-old DamianMore >>
Police continue to search for the body of an 18-year-old teenager who drowned while swimming in the All-American Canal.More >>
EL CENTRO, Calif. (13 On Your Side) - El Centro Police were able to quickly identify two teens who broke into schools over the weekend. The teens set off the school alarm at Wilson Junior High SchoolMore >>
El Centro Police were able to quickly identify two teens who broke into schools over the weekend.More >>
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A woman who was sentenced to death at age 16 after she confessed to her part in the torture and murder of a 78-year-old bible studies teacher has been released from an Indiana prisonMore >>
A woman who was sentenced to death at age 16 after she confessed to her part in the torture and murder of a 78-year-old bible studies teacher has been released from an Indiana prison after spending a quarter century behind bars.More >>
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states cannot on their own require would-be voters to prove they are U.S. citizens before using a federal registration system designed to make signingMore >>
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states cannot on their own require would-be voters to prove they are U.S. citizens before using a federal registration system designed to make signing up easier.More >>