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Woman in Independent Living Facility in California Dies After Nurse Refuses to Perform CPR

glenwood-gardens.jpg A California dispatcher followed protocols last Tuesday when she pleaded with an independent living facility nurse to perform CPR on a woman who was pronounced dead later that day. Glenwood Gardens, the facility where the woman resided, defended the nurse, who ultimately refused to perform CPR on the woman, stating that she followed the facility’s policy in dealing with this 87-year-old woman.

Dispatcher Tracey Halvorson, who has worked for Kern County for at least a decade, received a call on February 26 from a nurse requesting paramedics to come and help a woman who was barely breathing and had collapsed inside the Glenwood Gardens facility. Halvorson told the nurse to begin CPR on the woman, but the nurse refused, stating that the facility had a policy in place that prohibited her from performing CPR on residents. Halvorson stated “I understand if your boss is telling you you can’t do it. But . . . as a human being . . . you know. Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?” The nurse responded calmly, “Not at this time.”

The phone call lasted seven minutes and sixteen seconds and consisted of Halvorson pleading with the nurse to perform CPR or find someone else who was willing to help. Halvorson even assured the nurse that the facility could not be sued if anything went wrong with the CPR and the woman died because, as Halvorson stated, the local emergency medical system “takes liability for this call.” The nurse continued to refuse to assist the woman or find anyone else who was willing to do so. Firefighters and ambulance personnel arrived on scene seven minutes after the call came in.

Calif. woman dies after nurse refuses to do CPR, www.palmbeachpost.com March 04, 2013


The woman was found lying on the floor, not breathing and without a pulse. Ambulance personnel began CPR and loaded the woman onto a gurney. The woman was transported to Mercy Southwest Hospital where she was later pronounced dead. The executive director of Glenwood Gardens, Jeffrey Toomer, defended the nurse’s decision not to perform CPR based on the facility’s policy. Toomer went on to state that residents of the facility are informed of the policy that prohibits nurses from performing CPR and that residents must agree to this policy before moving in. He stated that the policy does not apply at the adjacent assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.

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