A nurse who ignored a 911 dispatcher's heartbreaking pleas to give CPR to a dying woman is now being criminally investigated, the AP reports.87-year-old woman Lorraine Bayless collapsed at a California independent living home. A nurse called 911 and was told by dispatcher Tracey Halvorson to start CPR. The nurse refused, saying the facility's rules didn't allow it.
"I understand if your boss is telling you, you can't do it," said the dispatcher. "But...as a human being...you know, is there anybody that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?"
"Not at this time," the nurse answered.
Halvorson tried to reassure the nurse that her employer couldn't be sued, saying the EMS "takes the liability for this call." Later Halvorson asked:
Is there a gardener? Any staff, anyone who doesn't work for you? Anywhere? Can we flag someone down in the street and get them to help this lady? Can we flag a stranger down? I bet a stranger would help her...She is going to die if we don't get this started, do you understand?
The woman had no pulse and wasn't breathing by the time the first responders arrived.
While it's not yet clear whether CPR would have saved her life, the recording has prompted calls for new laws to prevent another incident like this.
The director of the apartments, Jeffrey Toomer, defended both the nurse and the facility's policy. He sent condolences to the woman's family and said the home would review the incident.