A scary story came out of California recently about an elderly woman who died even though a trained nurse was standing right next to her. Our Atlanta elder abuse lawyers know that Georgia’s seniors, as well as seniors across the country, are rightly concerned about this story.
The California tragedy occurred earlier this month. 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless collapsed in the dining room of her independent living facility, Glenwood Gardens, in Bakersfield, California. A nurse, an employee of Glenwood, got on the 911 phone call. The 911 operator pleaded with the nurse, named Colleen, to give Ms. Bayless CPR. Colleen told the dispatcher that company policy forbade her from performing CPR. The policy required her to wait with the hurt or sick person, but not provide any medical care. Repeatedly the dispatcher pleaded with her, and asked her to find someone else to help Ms. Bayless. The 911 call sounds horrifyingly cruel, with Colleen stating, “Not at this time” in answer to the question of whether there was anyone around willing to help Ms. Bayless. At another point the dispatcher said that the lady will die, and Colleen responded “Yeah.” Emergency personnel arrived seven minutes after the 911 call, but it was already too late for Ms. Bayless. The avoidable tragedy is heartbreaking, and it is understandable why Georgia seniors might be worried.
A Georgia news story on the incident points out that Georgia’s Good Samaritan law would protect people trying to help in an emergency situation from liability. This law applies as long the helper is not getting paid. But even without the Good Samaritan law, many retirement and nursing home staff were also shocked and upset by the incident in California. Greg Rowe, Director of Dougherty County EMS, said, “I’ve never gone anywhere that I can remember where they were just sitting, waiting on us to get there.” And Dr. Graham Nichol, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, noted that CPR more than doubles the chances of survival, also noting, “If liability was a concern, I would suspect there is a greater liability if someone dies.”
The company, Brookdale Senior Living Inc., that owns Glenwood, where Ms. Bayless died in California, issued a statement saying, “This incident resulted from a complete misunderstanding of our practice with regards to emergency medical care for our residents.” They are now reviewing their policies and an internal review of Ms. Bayless’s situation. It is too late for Ms. Bayless and those she left behind, though. And we hope that nothing like this happens at any Georgia nursing or independent senior living home.
Atlanta Elder and Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
If a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse or abuse at a nursing home, the personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help. Our vulnerable elderly friends and relatives deserve to be cherished and protected, not taken advantage of. Contact our law office as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.
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