Bakersfield, Calif. Police reviewing 911 call at center of CPR controversy

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March 5, 2013, 5:18 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Chris LeClere) - Police in southern California are investigating after a resident died at an independent living facility while a nurse was on the phone with 911 but refused to perform CPR.

That call and the response are raising questions about what senior facilities will and will not do for their residents.

The call came from a nurse at Glenwood Gardens, an independent living center in Bakersfield, Calif.

"911: she's gonna die if we don't get this started. Do you understand?"
"Glenwood Gardens: I understand. I am a nurse. But, I cannot have our other senior citizens who don't know CPR..."
"911: I will instruct them...is there any there who's willing..."
"Glenwood gardens: I cannot do that."

For more than seven minutes the dispatcher pleads with the nurse to find some way to help the woman.

"911: is there a gardener...any staff? Anybody that's doesn't work for you, anywhere? Can we flag someone down in the street? And get them to help this lady?"

In a statement released Monday, the company says the nurse followed proper protocol.
“Our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives. That is the protocol we followed."

For Dr. Kevin Donovan, of Georgetown University Medical Center, that raises questions.

"As a society, we should expect those who are able to help to come to our aid. Particularly, when it's of no risk to them. Almost every state in the union has what are called Good Samaritan laws,” Dr. Donovan says. “They allow people to help in a medical emergency in good faith…. without fear of legal jeopardy.”

However, it is up to the patient, and their loved ones, to understand what services a facility will provide.

"Really need to look at what does each building offer, it's worth asking what happens if..."says Shawnee Hills Executive Director David Russell.

Back in California, Bakersfield Police now say they're reviewing the call asking, should more have been done?

It is important to note that the daughter of the woman who died is a nurse and says she believes the facility acted appropriately.

Tags: CPR, NBC News, Chris LeClere, bakersfield california, david russell, dr. kevin donovan, glenwood gardens, cpr controversy
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