BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Police in Bakersfield are investigating whether there was any criminal wrongdoing in an independent living facility’s handling of a resident’s death after a nurse refused to perform CPR on the woman.
Bakersfield Police Department spokeswoman Michaela Beard said Monday a police dispatcher first fielded the call from the facility last week saying that a woman had collapsed in the dining room. Police immediately routed it to the fire department for emergency services, Beard said. But when a second dispatcher pleaded with a nurse at the facility to perform CPR on the resident, she refused.
The facility, Glenwood Gardens, defended its nurse, saying she had followed policy in dealing with the 87-year-old woman.
At the beginning of the Feb. 26 call, the nurse asked for paramedics to come and help the woman who had collapsed and was barely breathing, according to a transcript of the call.
Dispatcher Tracey Halvorson urged the nurse to start CPR.
“I understand if your boss is telling you, you can’t do it,” the dispatcher said. “But ... as a human being ... you know, is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?”
“Not at this time,” the nurse answered.
During the 7-minute, 16-second call, Halvorson assured the nurse that Glenwood couldn’t be sued if anything went wrong with CPR, saying the local emergency medical system “takes the liability for this call,” the transcript states.
Later in the call, Halvorson asks, “Is there a gardener? Any staff, anyone who doesn’t work for you? Anywhere? Can we flag someone down in the street and get them to help this lady? Can we flag a stranger down? I bet a stranger would help her.”