"Nurse Refused to Give CPR to Elderly Woman Who Later Died" :

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    Ex Member Array detective's Avatar
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    "Nurse Refused to Give CPR to Elderly Woman Who Later Died" :

    AND her daughter was satisfied with her care? Sounds like fixings for an Agatha Christie Mystery.....


    Nurse refused to give CPR to elderly woman who later died
    March 2, 2013 | 3:50 pm

    Bakersfield fire dispatcher Tracey Halvorson pleaded with the woman on the other end of the line, begging her to start CPR on an elderly woman who was barely breathing.

    “It’s a human being,” Halvorson said, speaking quickly. “Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?”

    The woman paused.

    “Um, not at this time.”

    CONTINUE: Nurse refused to give CPR to elderly woman who later died [updated] - latimes.com

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If I was the DA I'd get the facility director, the nurse and anybody involved with Manslaughter charges. Since when do Nursing Homes have sneaky policies that sound harmless ("Waiting with the patient after calling 911) but that really mean they get to decide when the elderly die.

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    Member Array linuss's Avatar
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    I want to put this point first, as I know some will read the next paragraph, freak out and respond in kind: I don't agree with the policy, I think it's stupid, and I think it needs to be changed if able.


    I'm a Paramedic. There are things that I know how to do that can save someones life, but if I'm not authorized to do it, I can lose my job, my license, and my career. Now, non-medical people won't understand that, and that's fine, but that's how it is, and that's a decision that every medical provider has made at some point (Not doing something that needs to be done because we can't).

    If I lose my license and career, there goes me helping more untold number of people who need it. If I break the rules and POSSIBLY save a life, I get a thanks from the patient and their family, and that's it. Unless you're willing to pay the nurses salary when she gets fired, you can't reasonably ask for more.


    I don't agree with the policy, I think it's stupid, and they of all people should be aware of the fact that bystander initiated CPR is one of the greatest benefits in a cardiac arrest, but again, I'm not going to blame the nurse for protecting her job. And yes, before you ask, that is what the world has come to... providing for you and yours first.
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    linuss, I completely understand your perspective.

    It has been a while since I was in the medical field, but is it still policy that if you start CPR, you are not allowed to stop until someone who is officially able to pronounce a person dead does so? When it applied to me, it pretty much meant a physician had to pronounce a person dead before you could stop.

    You are right, policies remove a person's ability to make the best choice. Yes, sometimes people make bad choices, but policies are no different. The only difference is that if a person makes a bad choice, outside of policy, the person's life and career may be destroyed. When a policy dictates a bad choice, the policy goes under review.

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    Until relieved, pronounced dead, or too exhausted to continue.

    What people fail to recognize is: the victim is already dead--good CPR, bad CPR, or no CPR cannot make them deader.
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    Quote Originally Posted by detective View Post
    If I was the DA I'd get the facility director, the nurse and anybody involved with Manslaughter charges. Since when do Nursing Homes have sneaky policies that sound harmless ("Waiting with the patient after calling 911) but that really mean they get to decide when the elderly die.
    I just highlighted in bold what you wrote so that you can go back and re-read just how foolish this sounds.

    So you are saying that the nurse should face criminal charges for letting an old lady die of old age/natural causes?

    If you are then you need to come back down to earth and realize that there are a myriad of reasons that someone may not want to give CPR. Nobody is obliged to risk their own health and financial well being for another person. Nobody.
    Mark Twain:
    The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a
    patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.

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    Member Array linuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aogiss View Post
    It has been a while since I was in the medical field, but is it still policy that if you start CPR, you are not allowed to stop until someone who is officially able to pronounce a person dead does so?
    I don't believe there is a law stating such in any state, as it'd be unreasonable. I don't know how if you've done any cardiac arrests yourself, but performing CPR is some of the most intense cardio you'll do (no pun intended), and after 2 minutes, people just suck at it. That's why most places have someone do compressions for only about a minute before they switch for someone fresh.

    Forcing someone to do CPR until relieved is not only stupid, but unrealistic, especially if you're in a remote setting. The AHA even says if you need a break, take one.

    When it applied to me, it pretty much meant a physician had to pronounce a person dead before you could stop.
    Luckily Paramedics of today aren't like the ambulance drivers of yesteryear. In a medical cardiac arrest, we do every single thing a physician does, including ceasing efforts and calling death in the field. And physicians and Paramedics share the same success (ha) rates without complications.

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    Ex Member Array detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Until relieved, pronounced dead, or too exhausted to continue.

    What people fail to recognize is: the victim is already dead--good CPR, bad CPR, or no CPR cannot make them deader.
    Yes or no? Who knows, she was at that point hardly breathing, that's not dead. The point is - if the Nurse could have lost her job (altho frick it I would have helped the woman and if they fired me sue the place) - the point: the woman had not the benefit of a professional evaluation or, if she was alive and seems she was, a chance to live. THAT is Manslaughter, intentionally allowing someone to die by a facility entrusted with patient-heath and when there is no DNR present. The Law is not on their side. The time of resuscitation was but 5 min until more help arrived.

    Besides, deciding life and death based on radio communications and on-site absence of evaluation is Nazi-ish when focused on one group: the elderly. That how'd you like to go - someone standing 5' away under some hidden policy deciding it's time for you to die?

    Suppositions cannot decide life.

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    Member Array linuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by detective View Post
    Yes or no? Who knows, she was at that point hardly breathing, that's not dead.
    Just because you're 'breathing' doesn't mean you're alive. Google something called "Agonal respirations". It's also known as 'fish breathing'. It's basically the body resorting to the most primal instinct of trying to breath, but it's not breathing, and your heart is still stopped thus not getting oxygen anywhere anyhow. Fairly common in cardiac arrest (dead people).


    Quote Originally Posted by detective View Post
    That how'd you like to go - someone standing 5' away under some hidden policy deciding it's time for you to die?
    That's what we do all the time. That's how a cardiac arrest is run.


    And even at my young age, my family knows I don't want CPR done. It's relatively useless, with very little benefit. Most of the 'saves' end up being brain dead in a single window room for years, draining their familys bank account and ruining their emotions.

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    Member Array linuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by detective View Post
    Tand the Dispatcher said she WOULD die without aid - not that she was dead
    1: The dispatcher wasn't there, she couldn't see the patient. I can tell dead vs not dead with a 2 second glance at someone. No heartbeat = dead. Now, there's clinical death and physiological death, but dead is dead and you needent worry about the distinction.

    2: Depending on your locale, dispatchers have little to no medical training, and those that do are hardly ever Paramedics themselves. They follow cards / computer prompts on what to say. Telling someone "They could die" is a prompt they give to convince someone to do something who are otherwise hesitant.

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    Before we all jump to conclusions based on the MEDIA'S Reporting, which we always know is full of truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, (instead of picking out the parts of the story that is sensational, and leaving out the parts that would make the story a non-story).

    1) Patient was in a nursing home, and it sounds like facing end of life issues.
    2) Many patients in a nursing home have a "Do Not Resuscitate" or may have orders that allows for medications, but no CPR. This means that if their soul is ready to pass into the next world, we don't stop it.
    3) Many nursing homes are required to call 911 for any medical emergency
    4) CPR breaks ribs, and separates ribs from the sternum. After CPR it is common for geriatric patients to end up on a ventilator, because they can't breath due to the broken ribs, and have complications of pneumonia.

    Many times doing CPR just causes a person to live a prolonged life in pain, unable to breath without pain, or requires the assistance of a ventilator. We don't have access to the medical records, and we don't know what medical orders that the nurse was under. If the patient didn't want to have CPR done, who are we to say the nursing home was in the wrong.

    The media is looking for sensationalism - let the investigation go where it goes before we all jump on and claim negligence or disregard. They may have been respecting her wishes, and actually allowed a more peaceful pacing than would otherwise have happened with CPR.
    Last edited by DMan; March 3rd, 2013 at 06:04 PM.
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    Distinguished Member Array Exacto's Avatar
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    Disgusting,hope this nurse gets the same level of care when she needs it.
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    I use to be a CPR Instructor/Tainer with the American Heart Association.. Part of the course covers liability. If your state has a "Good Samaritan" law, you can render emergency aid within your level of training. Without a "Good Samaritan" law, only emergency medical personnel can render aid without legal repercussions...provided that they stay within their level of training. To my knowledge, California does not have a Good Samaritan Law.

    I'm not tryng to defend or justify the inaction of the "nurse" or the facility. In giving emergency aid, the nurse could have opened his/herself up for civil litigation. Yes, giving emergency aid is the moral thing to do, however "morality and legality are oft mutually exclusive."
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    Member Array linuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaGunny View Post
    California does not have a Good Samaritan Law.
    Cali actually does have a Good Samaritan law, however a court decision a couple of years ago pretty much gutted that into uselessness and allowed a suit to proceed against some people.

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    Senior Member Array DMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exacto View Post
    Disgusting,hope this nurse gets the same level of care when she needs it.
    I will respectfully disagree - without more knowledge. I have given CPR to people in the 80's and older. The feeling and hearing of the ribs cracking and breaking, then watching them suffer for weeks afterwards only to die because of the injuries related to the CPR, has made me sick.

    There may have been a medical order to not give CPR. This is something that would probably not be disclosed to the media, and if so, they probably won't mention it.
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    Ex Member Array detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linuss View Post
    1: The dispatcher wasn't there, she couldn't see the patient. I can tell dead vs not dead with a 2 second glance at someone. No heartbeat = dead. Now, there's clinical death and physiological death, but dead is dead and you needent worry about the distinction.

    2: Depending on your locale, dispatchers have little to no medical training, and those that do are hardly ever Paramedics themselves. They follow cards / computer prompts on what to say. Telling someone "They could die" is a prompt they give to convince someone to do something who are otherwise hesitant.
    So can I.

    You're dead.


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