SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Relatives of an 87-year-old woman who died after a nurse at her retirement home refused a 911 dispatcher’s pleas to perform CPR expressed satisfaction with the care she received, saying her wishes were to die naturally. Meanwhile, the company that owns the facility now says its worker failed to follow proper procedures.
Lorraine Bayless‘ death last week at Glendale Gardens, a Bakersfield independent living facility, prompted outrage after a 7-minute recording of the 911 call was released. Brookdale Senior Living, which owns the facility, initially said its employee acted correctly by waiting until emergency personnel arrived. But late Tuesday, it issued a new statement saying the employee had misinterpreted the company’s guidelines and was on voluntary leave while the case is investigated.
“This incident resulted from a complete misunderstanding of our practice with regards to emergency medical care for our residents,” the Tennessee-based company said.
Shortly before Brookdale’s clarification, Bayless’ family sent The Associated Press a statement saying she was aware that Glenwood Gardens did not offer trained medical staff, but opted to live there anyway.
“It was our beloved mother and grandmother’s wish to die naturally and without any kind of life prolonging intervention,” the family said. “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.”
The family said it would not sue or try to profit from the death, and called it “a lesson we can all learn from.”
“We regret that this private and most personal time has been escalated by the media,” the statement said.
Bayless collapsed in the Glenwood Gardens dining hall on Feb. 26. Someone called 911 on a cellphone and asked for an ambulance. Later, a woman who identified herself as a nurse got on the line and told dispatcher Tracey Halvorson she was not permitted to do CPR on the woman.
Halvorson implored the nurse to find someone else and said she would instruct them on how to do the procedure.
“I understand if your facility is not willing to do that,” Halvorson said. “Give the phone to a passer-by. This woman is not breathing enough. She is going to die if we don’t get this started, do you understand?”