Elderly Woman Dies After Nurse Refuses to Perform CPR

Elderly Woman Dies After Nurse Refuses to Perform CPR

There's nationwide outrage over a nurse's refusal to perform CPR on a dying 87-year-old woman, despite the pleas of a 911 dispatcher.

The drama unfolded at a retirement home in Glenwood Gardens, Bakersfield, California. Resident Lorraine Bayless collapsed in the dining room.

A nurse called 911 but said it was company policy not to perform CPR.

911 dispatcher: “I don't understand why you're not willing to help this patient... Is there anyone that works there that's willing to do it?
Nurse: “We can't do that. That's what I'm trying to say.”
911 dispatcher: “Are we just going to let this lady die?”
Nurse: “Well that's why we're calling 911.”
911 dispatcher: “We can't wait. She can't wait right now. She is stopping breathing.”

The 911 dispatcher's final plea was heartbreaking.

911 dispatcher: “Can we flag someone down in the street and get them to help this lady? As a human being, is there anybody that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?”
Nurse: “Not at this time.”

The woman died and national debate is erupting over the scandal.

Today show co-host, Savannah Guthrie said, “I don't think it's possible to hear that and not be shocked.”

Norah O’Donnell from the CBS Early Show said, “If someone is dying in front of you, you do everything you can to help that person.”

Dan Abrams from Good Morning America said, “Bravo to the 911 operator. The way she’s going at it, trying to get some action.”

The director of the facility said in a statement: "in the event of a health emergency our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives."

Though the 911 call is shocking, experts say performing CPR can cause injury, especially for an elderly person.

INSIDE EDITION spoke with CPR training expert Stephanie Duehring.

Duehring said, “In general, CPR is safe to perform on individuals. Concerns that arise out of performing CPR on senior citizens or the elderly is a fear of breaking or fracturing bones - an increased risk because they tend to have osteoporosis which is frail bones.”