Woman Denied CPR Had Refused It Anyway, So Give Her Nurse a Break

ambulance emergencyIf you missed it (but how could you have?), the country has been in an absolute uproar over the story of an 87-year-old woman named Lorraine Bayless who died in her California retirement community after a nurse refused to perform CPR. On the unsettling 911 call, which has been made public, the nurse repeatedly told the dispatcher, "We can't do that" when she's pushed to perform CPR or find someone who can, even if it was someone who wasn't employed there. It was understandably unnerving to hear, and the nurse has basically become public enemy #1 as a result.

But now, what Bayless' family has to had to say about the upsetting turn of events seems to indicate that we may wanna lay off the nurse. Although local fire officials who responded said Bayless did not have a "do not resuscitate" order on file at the home, her family says it was their "beloved mother and grandmother's wish to die naturally and without any kind of life prolonging intervention." That's a game-changer, right?


The family's statement went on to say:

We understand that the 911 tape of this event has caused concern, but our family knows that mom had full knowledge of the limitations of Glenwood Gardens and is at peace. ... We regret that this private and most personal time has been escalated by the media.

Furthermore, they said they have no plans to sue or try to profit from the death, and called it "a lesson we can all learn from."

In the meantime, Glendale Gardens has released their own statement noting that their employee misinterpreted the company's guidelines and was on voluntary leave while the case is investigated. That's fair, and the independent living facility could very well come up with a different conclusion about the matter. After all, they need to proceed with foresight here. Could letting this nurse off the hook set some kind of worrisome precedent?

But that's not our, the public's, problem or decision to make. And knowing that Bayless didn't want the intervention that's being argued about should at least give us pause, if not convince us to seriously lighten up on the nurse who -- at least as far as Bayless' own family seems to be concerned -- is no villain.

What do you think about what Lorraine Bayless' family had to say? Do you think it's wrong for the public to be villainizing this nurse?


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