Elderly woman dies when nursing home staff refuses CPR

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An elderly woman being cared for at a California retirement facility died following the refusal of a nurse at the facility to perform CPR on the woman after she collapsed, authorities said.

When Lorraine Bayless, an 87-year-old resident of Glenwood Gardens, Bakersfield, collapsed at the facility around 11 a.m. Tuesday, a staff member called 911 but refused to give the woman CPR, according to a recording of the call.

In refusing the 911 dispatcher's insistence that she perform CPR, the nurse can be heard telling the dispatcher that it was against the retirement facility's policy to perform CPR.

During the exchange between the nurse and the dispatcher, the dispatcher can be heard saying, "I don't understand why you're not willing to help this patient.''

An ambulance arrived several minutes after the call and took Bayless to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. She has been identified as a resident of the home's independent facility, which is separate from the skilled and assisted nursing facility.

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The retirement facility released a statement extending its condolences to the family and said its "practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives.''

The statement also said a "thorough internal review of the matter'' would be conducted.

A call to the facility by The Associated Press seeking more information on the incident was not immediately returned.

Bayless' daughter told a reporter for KGET, the NBC affiliate in Bakersfield, that she was also a nurse and was satisfied with the care her mother received.

Read KGET's account of the 911 call

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