Elderly woman's death from no-CPR policy under scrutiny

Elderly woman's death from no-CPR policy under scrutiny

Tyler, TX (KYTX) -- It's a chilling story making headlines across the nation. An elderly woman dies at a California retirement home after staff refuse to give her emergency CPR.

911 Caller: "Yeah, we can't do CPR"

Dispatch: "Ok, then hand the phone to a passerby. You can't do it, hand it to the passerby and I'll have her do it."

This 911 call released by the Bakersfield Fire Department after Lorraine Bayless, 87, collapses at a retirement home in Bakersfield, CA. According to 911 records, it was from "cardiac arrest". 

Dispatch:"Is there anyone that works there willing to do it?

911 Caller: "We can't"

Dispatch: "Are we just going to let this lady die?"

Bayless died and the facility defended the nurse's actions, saying she followed protocol, which is to wait for emergency personnel to arrive.

It begs the question if retirement homes in East Texas would be in a similar bind.

"Your company, my company, anybody has a right to make a policy. But in the case of an emergency, would you enforce it?" Charlotte Parks, a certified Ombudsman in East Texas, said.

Parks has seen plenty of retirement communities in East Texas, visiting different places 12 to 13 times a month. She says in her time, she's never heard of a case where someone refused to save a life.

"I just can't imagine anyone in Texas not being able to help somebody," Parks said.

However, Parks does say it matters who administers the CPR.

 "Certainly, to give CPR you have to be properly trained, or you could injure the person more," Parks said.

She adds that right now nurses in East Texas facilities must undergo background checks, but isn't aware of any policy that would force them to provide CPR.

Reps with the Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities Services say licensed facilities can legally refuse to give CPR, as long as they notify people of the policy ahead of time. 


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