BAKERSFIELD, Cal. (CBS/Los Angeles) - A staff member at an independent living facility in Bakersfiled, California called 911 when a woman collapsed. The 911 operator pleaded with the woman on the phone to begin CPR on the dying resident, but she refused.
The 911 tape is shocking to listen to. An 87-year-old woman collapsed. A woman, claiming to be a nurse, refuses to even try to give the woman CPR because of the facility's policies.
The conversation on the 911 tape went like this:
Dispatcher: "are we just going to wait and let this lady die?"
Nurse: "well that's why we're calling 911....she's taking 3 breathes."
Dispatcher: "we need to get CPR started....OK, they're refusing CPR they're going to let her just die...."
The dispatcher pleaded for anyone to help the 87-year-old woman before the ambulance arrives, but the nurse on the other end of the phone said it was against facility policy for staff to administer CPR.
The dispatcher went on to say: "I understand your boss is telling you you can't do it but if there's anybody a human being I don't, is there anybody that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?"
The Nurse responded with: "Um, not at this time."
Dr. Thomas Horowitz, a medical ethicist, listened to the recording and says the situation is "pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.. I'm disappointed in a facility that would disempower its people to help rather than to help."
The incident happened Tuesday at Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield..
The executive director tells CBS2 News its policies say they do not provide medical care.
"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," a representative for Glenwood Gardens said in a statement.
The state calls Glenwood Gardens a "skilled nursing facility" and CBS2's legal analyst Steve Meister says regardless of the facilities policies there are state and federal obligations and the facility could face many lawsuits including criminal charges..
"Every person in the facility and the owner could be looking at license revocation from the state and they could be criminally on the theory of homicide," says Meister.
Fire officials say the 87-year-old woman died at the hospital.
Drr Horowitz says the nurse on the tape had an obligation to at least try to save her life
CBS2 says they did talk to the woman's daughter over the phone who says her mother had been living at the facility for three years and was in good care. She also believes her mother would not have survived even if she had received CPR.
The LA Times is reporting that at least one TV Station in the Los Angeles area says the woman did not have a Do Not Resuscitate order on record.