Target: Jeffrey Toomer, the Executive Directer of Glenwood Gardens Independent Living Facility
Goal: Demand immediate change to the facility’s policy barring staff from administering CPR or other life-resuscitating procedures
A recent 911 call has garnered significant national attention as of late—not for its horrifying or grotesque nature, but for the chilling indifference shown by the caller. Shortly after Lorraine Bayless, an 87-year-old woman living at the Glenwood Gardens living facility, collapsed, a nurse immediately called 911. Bayless showed little sign of life, the nurse explained, breathing “once every fifteen seconds.” Tracey Halverson, the dispatcher who took the call, ordered the nurse to perform CPR in order to save the woman’s life.
The nurse simply responded, “I can’t.” The retirement home’s “policy” bars any staff member from performing CPR or any other resuscitating procedure on residents—essentially for fear of legal repercussion. Since Glenwood Gardens is an independent living facility, it doesn’t operate under licensing oversight. Unlike nursing homes where around-the-clock care is provided, independent living facilities are generally not required to provide medical care.
Nevertheless, as Bayless lied there, helpless, barely breathing, the nurse idely stood there, numb to the dispatcher’s pleas. “Anybody there can do CPR,” explained Halverson. “Give them the phone, please…This woman’s not breathing enough. She is going to die if we don’t get this started.” “We can’t do that,” the nurse answered.
The nurse’s unwillingness to perform CPR and save the elderly woman’s life is both morally incomprehensible and criminal. Even if the nurse or representatives of the living facility feared legal repercussion if something went wrong, the dispatcher made it explicitly clear to the nurse that Glenwood Gardens would not be held liable. Unfortunately, by the time fire crews reached Bayless, she was not breathing and showed no signs of life.
Glenwood Garden’s policy prohibiting CPR and other life-resuscitating procedures is inhumane and borderline criminal. Bakersfield police are now investigating the incident to see if their was any criminal wrongdoing on the account of the nurse or other members of Glenwood Garden’s staff. Demand Glenwood Garden’s Executive Director Jeffrey Toomer change the living facility’s policy immediately.
Dear Jeffrey Toomer,
The inhumanity and indifference that Glenwood Garden staff showed toward Lorraine Bayless as she lay dying on the floor is unconscionable. If the Glenwood Garden’s policy prohibits staff members from performing CPR or other life-saving procedures on residents because of liability concerns, then your facility must reevaluate its priorities.
There is absolutely no excuse for the behavior of the nurse employed at your facility. If any reasonable person sees a woman dying on the floor, they call 911 and follow the dispatcher’s instructions. And when the dispatcher says you must perform CPR to save that woman’s life, you do it, no questions asked. But to have some sort of arbitrary policy bar a staff member from performing CPR on a dying resident is both barbaric and cruel.
Change your policy immediately as to prevent similar acts of inhumanity from happening again. No one should stand and idly watch someone die on the floor simply because “company policy” barred him or her from providing help.
[Your Name Here]