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Elderly woman dies after nurse refuses to give her CPR

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Courtesy ABC News

A 911 dispatcher pleaded with a nurse at a Bakersfield, Calif., senior living facility to save the life of an elderly woman by giving her CPR, but the nurse said policy did not allow her to, according to a newly released audiotape of the call.

"Is there anybody there that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?" the dispatcher asked in a recording of the 911 call released by the Bakersfield Fire Department.

"Not at this time," the nurse said.

The incident unfolded on Tuesday when 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless collapsed at Glenwood Gardens, a senior living facility in Bakersfield.

In the seven-minute, 16-second recording, the nurse told the dispatcher it was against the facility's policy for employees to perform CPR on residents.

With every passing second, Bayless' chances of survival were diminishing. The dispatcher's tone turned desperate.

"Anybody there can do CPR. Give them the phone please. I understand if your facility is not willing to do that. Give the phone to that passerby," the dispatcher said.  "This woman is not breathing enough. She is going to die if we don't get this started."

After several minutes, an ambulance arrived and took Bayless to Mercy Southwest Hospital, where she died.

Glenwood Gardens released a statement confirming its policy prohibiting employees from performing CPR.

"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. That is the protocol we followed," the statement said.

Despite protocol being followed, the nursing home said it would launch an internal investigation into the matter.

ABC News' Ron Claiborne contributed to this report.

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