Local seniors react to company's 'no CPR' policy following death in Bakersfield

Brookdale Senior Living owns home in San Marcos

SAN MARCOS, Calif. - Residents of a local senior living center expressed surprise and outrage over the death of a woman at a Bakersfield facility owned by the same company.

10News Poll: San Diegans weigh in on policy

Last Tuesday, 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless was barely breathing at the Glenwood Gardens facility in Bakersfield. A 911 dispatcher pleaded with a staff nurse to perform CPR on Bayless, but she refused, saying that company policy forbade it. Paramedics arrived moments later, but it was too late.

On Monday, several residents of Brookdale Place in San Marcos who talked to 10News all had the same opinion about the company's "no CPR" policy -- they don't like it.

"If you have a life threatened, you should have the ability to approach that life and do whatever you need to do," said Brookdale resident Jeff Queen.  

Like other Brookdale residents 10News spoke to, Queen was not aware of Brookdale's policy that doesn't allow its nursing staff to administer CPR.  

"They can't take care of themselves so they rely upon the facility to have someone there to know CPR," said another resident who didn't want to be identified.

10News found there is no regulation or law that compels someone to administer CPR.

However, an expert in senior law said Brookdale's policy is all about profit over people.  

"It's just unconscionable to me that she would not perform a life-saving measure if it's called for," said Andrew Thompson, a lawyer for Elder Law & Advocacy in San Diego.

"First of all, it's immoral, I feel. But then if you have to look at it from a business sense, there's only one reason for that and that's to avoid a potential lawsuit, and I think that's a poor business practice to put potential lawsuits over saving somebody's life," Thompson added.

Late Monday afternoon, Brookdale provided a statement to 10News, which read, in part, "We are conducting an internal review to determine all of the facts about what occurred while waiting for the paramedics, who arrived moments later. Our associate who was involved was serving in the capacity of a Resident Services Director, not as a nurse."  

However, the woman did identify herself to the Bakersfield 911 dispatcher as a nurse.

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