The Cycle | March 04, 2013
>>> imagine someone you knew suddenly went in to cardiac arrest but there was nothing that anybody nearby could do. not because they didn't want to but the rules said they weren't permitted to. a newly released 911 call reveals the look at a case of an elderly woman in california . we have the chilling details.
>> there's lady oosh.
>> what's the address? what is the address?
>> reporter: the 911 call came from glenwood gardens, a senior independent living facility in bakersfield, california . an 87-year-old resident collapsed inside.
>> we need to get cpr started. that's not enough. okay?
>> we can't do cpr to the facility.
>> if you can't do it, hand the phone to the passer by or any citizens there.
>> reporter: the management says its employees are not allowed to attempt cpr on its residents. our practice to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance an ento wait with the individual needing attention. that's the protocol we followed.
>> she's going to dial if we don't get this started. do you understand?
>> i understand. i am a nurse.
>> but i cannot have our other senior citizens who don't know cpr --
>> i will instruct them and -- i will instruct them. is there anyone there who's willing --
>> reporter: mary winters, an expert on senior care , says in california , independent living facilities are not legally required to provide medical care .
>> it's really more like a hotel where they'll offer you concierge services, you will get meals, housekeeping, change your bed. but you can't even get care in an independent living .
>> reporter: the 911 call lasted just over seven minutes. an emergency call that left the dispatcher pleading for help.
>> i understand if your boss is telling you that you can't do it. is there anybody there that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?
>> not at this time.
>> reporter: nbc news, los angeles .
>> the victim was eventually rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. her daughter says she's satisfied with the her care and respect it is policy of this facility. but this afternoon, many others are wondering was enough done? let's spin. so, guys, this reminded me of that story from a year or two ago of the lifeguard in florida who was fired for saving someone outside of his coverage zone. he eventually got his job back. but this is sort of the opposite of that. in order to not get fired, the staff at glenwood gardens decided not to do anything. and the woman died. presumably all of the people will keep their jobs but what i don't understand is, you don't want to be liable for administering incorrect care, i suppose, and maybe there's some confusion over whether there was a do not resuscitate order but then why call 911?
>> that's their policy.
>> what's the -- but policy aside, clearly this policy is flawed. policy aside, what's the point of calling 911 and asking for care if you're not going to then administer the care they're attempting to give while you wait?
>> yeah. i i feel it might -- when the outrage in a situation is easy and obvious, my instinct is to say wait a minute. there's context here missing. i don't know. if there's a case of crazy lawsuit conscious policy in place and the employee's following the letter of the handbook and let -- yeah. i would be outraged over that, too. there's a context clues here that i'm keying in on. the statement from this woman's -- 87-year-old woman's family saying we were aware of this policy going in. we don't have a problem with this. number two, this community, they also operate an assisted care facility and there they will resuscitate and do cpr and all of that. they have drawn a distinction between if you want to go in the assisted care facility you get that. if you live here, you get that. it raises the possibility what you have is senior citizens who have thought these things through and if i live here an i am in a situation -- this idea of the do not resuscitate order, that will cover situations of cpr . if this woman and family made the decision, residents could -- the residents aren't that alarmed either. if this is a place with that conversation and had that discussion, and the policy of the place is, you know, you need cpr , we'll comfort you.
>> puts 911 in a tough spot.
>> that's awkward.
>> oh my god. look. this story just floors me because here's a person. when you hear that call and you hear just how lackadaisical the people on the glenwood gardens end is, yeah, not at this time. oh yeah. we can't do that. oh, she's yelling at me and she wants know do cpr . get someone. i won't do it. it's all very stressful. where's the urgency? someone's collapsed. 87 years old there in the dining room and no one's doing anything. what point does humanity kick in?
>> it leaps out to me. not dealing in a situation of someone is dying. i understand there's a policy but does she even seem as a human being to recognize that the person is nearing the end of the life and even if they don't want to be resuscitated and there's older people entering that situation --
>> a lot of them.
>> but you still have -- got to have a sense of, like, wow, like, this is a major moment in my life, in this person's life and this person can be close to dying and how much of this situation is about we're living in this over litigious society and we will have the policies where we won't get in trouble when we're trying to save your life and you can't be sued for performing cpr , there's other thinging --
>> california law .
>> i agree. if that's the case, we can agree it's an outrage. i have seen this in my own life and probably all seen -- a lot of us seen similar things. older people will have a conversation with the nurses who are around them, their family an they will say, over and over for the final years of their lives, i don't want to be resuscitated.
>> isn't there -- that bothers you?
>> suggests to me strongly when the family comes out with a statement they had that conversation with the family and had that conversation with the caregiver and if the policy of the place in that situation is to comfort you in the final moments but not --
>> not comforting at all.
>> no comfort there.
>> she wasn't but -- again, i don't have the full details but the fact the family isn't alarmed.
>> i wouldn't want to go there. i wouldn't want to be a guest there.
>> it's a tough one.
>> a hotel to give you everything except help when you're dying.
>>> all right. straight ahead, a sequester side effect . illegal immigrants released from jail instead of deported. as you might expect, we have a lot to talk about on this one.