Policies In Tulsa Examined After CA Woman Is Refused CPR By Nursing Staff

Monday, March 4th 2013, 6:25 pm
By: News On 6

A California woman is dead after a nurse at her retirement community refused to give her CPR.

The 87-year-old woman collapsed in the dining room of the independent living facility, and a nurse called 911. But when instructed to administer CPR, the nurse told the dispatcher it's the facility's policy not to perform CPR on their residents.

That story certainly made us wonder what the policies are at our local retirement communities.

The CEO of Oklahoma Methodist Manor said they have both independent and assisted living on the same campus, and if anyone needs emergency care, they'll get it, unless they have specified otherwise.

Oklahoma Methodist Manor has nearly 400 residents, and more than half of those are in independent living.

"I'm gonna be talking about this with the members of this community tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day," said CEO Steve Dickie.

He said, while all the details surrounding the situation in California aren't clear, at his facility, a person living independently would receive the same care as someone in assisted living.

"They would not be different. In the absence of a DNR, I would expect the person to receive life saving measures," Dickie said.

The woman who died in California did not have a Do Not Resuscitate order.

During the seven-minute telephone call, the dispatcher pleaded with the nurse to allow someone who isn't an employee of the facility to help, but the nurse said that wasn't allowed.

911 Dispatcher: "Is there anybody that works there that's willing to do it?"
Nurse: "We can't do that. That's what I'm trying to say."

Dispatcher: "Are we just going to let this lady die?"
Nurse: "Well, that's why we're calling 911."

The director of the center said their policy is to not perform any type of medical care, and just to call 911 and wait for help to arrive.

Dickie won't speculate why the retirement home has a policy in place to not attempt CPR, but said there are a few instances where it might be necessary.

"If a person was found non responsive, and if the first responder had no idea how long they had stopped breathing," he said.

Emeritus Senior Living released this statement Monday:

"Our policy is that any individual certified in CPR can administer it, as long as they have called 911 or they have gotten someone else to do so.

"It is our policy to do the right thing in all circumstances and we will stand behind any employee who does so."

We contacted 10 different retirement communities here in Tulsa, and of those that returned our call, only one said they have a policy similar to the one at that California facility.

They said their residents are aware of that fact before they ever become a member of the community.