by Tom aka Rusty Rustbelt
Health Care Thoughts: The CPR Kerfluffle
According to numerous media reports:
On February 26th, Lorraine Bayless, an 87 year old resident of the Glendale Gardens independent living facility, collapsed in the dining hall. Someone called 911, and eventually a person identifying herself as a “nurse” was on the call (whether she was working as a “nurse” appears to be in doubt).
The 911 operator pleaded, implored and demanded someone do something, and the “nurse” replied that facility policy prevented any such actions. The “nurse” refused to hand off the phone or to get anyone else involved. Ms. Bayless died. Someone notified the media (911 calls are public record in many states). Ka-boom!!! This became a media feeding frenzy. The stuff has hit the fan.
The initial media reports, both broadcast and written, were inconsistent on the facts. Recent reports (several dozen) seem to be more consistent, many based on AP reporting.
This has become a debate about possible legal duties, ethical duties, the duties of licensed health personnel in a non-medical setting, the need for advanced directives and consumer advocate criticism. Ms. Bayless’ family has issued a statement to the effect she would not have wanted life prolonging intervention and the family is not upset or litigious.
So have we learned anything here?
1) Most of us should have advanced directives and make copies of those directives available to anyone who might in anyway be responsible for our health and safety.
2) Anyone living in any sort of elder care facility should verify the presence or lack of medical services, both routine and trauma.