WESTWOOD (CBS/AP) — A nurse’s refusal to give CPR to a dying 87-year-old woman at a Bakersfield independent living community has raised concerns about policies at certain senior facilities.

Lorraine Bayless collapsed in the dining room of Glenwood Gardens on Feb. 26.

In a 7-minute, 16-second call with an emergency dispatcher, the unidentified nurse explained it was against staff rules to administer CPR to the victim.

“I understand if your boss is telling you (that) you can’t do it. But if there’s any, a human being, I don’t…is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?” asked the dispatcher.

The nurse said, “Um, not at this time.”

Bayless later died at a hospital.

Jeffrey Toomer, the executive director of Glenwood Gardens, defended the nurse and said she followed the facility’s policy to call and seek help of emergency medical personnel.

“In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community, our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives,” Toomer said. “That is the protocol we followed.”

Toomer also said residents of the facility are told of the policy and agree to it when they move in.

Dr. Susan Leonard, an assistant professor of geriatrics at UCLA, told KCAL9’s Serene Branson that an independent living community is different than an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing home, which are licensed to provide medical care.

“These are like apartments for seniors. You’re basically living on your own. They may have some services provided by basic nursing staff, but it’s not their responsibility to care for the individual,” said Leonard.

Leonard said if a family sends a loved one to a senior facility, they should specifically ask the staff if they provide medical care.

“They would be able to tell you….what exactly they’re able to do and what they can’t do,” she said.

Glenwood Gardens, which is operated by Brookdale Senior Living, runs facilities across the country, including two dozen locations in California.

Bayless’ death has prompted a criminal investigation.


Staff At Senior Living Home Refuses To Perform CPR On Dying Woman

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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