Forgive me for the Seinfeld reference…..
I enjoy following the news of my hometown. It’s nice to keep on the politics and to see what my good friends in public safety have been up to since I left. Unfortunately my little moments of nostalgia are sometimes interrupted by little gems like this:
A Kern 9-1-1 dispatcher begged a nurse to attempt CPR on an elderly resident of one of Bakersfield’s most prestigious retirement communities, but the nurse refused, according a recording released Friday. “Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?” the dispatcher asked. “Not at this time,” the nurse responded. The patient died.
Having dispatcher-led CPR refused isn’t news. I respond to calls all the time where the caller refuses to attempt CPR. This isn’t limited to public places. I have seen family members flat refuse to help, but that’s another story for another time. What bothers me about this story isn’t the fact that the employee refused to comply with the dispatcher. She was only following policy. My issue is that the facility not only doesn’t train their employees in CPR, but they flat out prohibit them from even attempting it? If this is an “independent living facility” that doesn’t handle medical affairs, then why did they have a nurse on staff?
I can somewhat understand not training employees in CPR due to cost and I emphasize the word “somewhat”. There are grant programs out there for CPR training and I’m fairly certain that Good Samaritan laws would protect lay-rescuers in these types of situations. I just can’t wrap my head around prohibiting employees from even attempting CPR.
I’m going to refrain from criticizing the actions of the staff at the patient’s side. I wasn’t there and I don’t know for sure if the patient had a pulse, or any signs of life. I’m limited by the information that the media provides and we all know how mainstream news organizations never leave out important details.
In my years in healthcare and EMS, I have seen people refuse CPR for many reasons, but this is the first time I have ever seen it refused due to policy. Has anyone else come across a scenario like this? Is anyone familiar with policies like this and why they are implemented?
I hope that this isn’t common practice with independent living facilities. If it is, I certainly hope that this story sparks some positive change in the industry.