March is only four days old, but this month’s “man’s inhumanity to man” award goes to Glenwood Gardens and the folks who work there. The senior living facility in Bakersfield, Calif., has a policy of calling 911 in emergencies and waiting with the afflicted until medical assistance arrives. But the lack of urgency — the seeming indifference of the personnel to the 87-year-old woman who collapsed in the dining room Feb. 26 — is stunning.
The Bakersfield Fire Department released the 911 call on Saturday is simply chilling. For seven minutes, the 911 operator tried to get someone, anyone, to administer CPR to Lorraine Bayless as she lay on the floor barely breathing.
Dispatcher: I understand if your boss is telling you you can’t do it. but if there’s anybody, as a human being, I don’t, you know. Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?
Glenwood Gardens nurse: Not at this time.
Stunning and chilling are accurate descriptions. Go listen to the 911 call. The only person concerned about the dying woman is the 911 operator. Everyone else acts as if the 87 year old woman lying on the ground has a hangnail.
I’m not going to get into whether the woman would have lived if she’s received CPR. I’m not even going to dwell on Glenwood Gardens corporate death panels. What stuns me is the staff’s complete and utter lack of humanity and compassion. Have you listened to the 911 call yet? You really need to do that.
The Glenwood Gardens staff, one of which declares herself a nurse, is completely unmoved. There is simply no emotional reaction, no sense of urgency whatsoever. That’s what’s chilling. In fact, the only time a staff member showed emotion was when it came to herself:
Meanwhile, the nurse told someone on her end that Halvorson (911 operator) was “yelling at me and saying we have to have one of our residents perform CPR. I’m feeling stressed, and I’m not going to do that, make that call.”
She’s feeling stressed? Why? Because someone is dying in front of her? Nope. She’s upset because the 911 operator is “yelling” at her to help the dying woman. Why even call 911? Why not just skip the middleman and call the funeral home instead? Bet this stressed nurse really needed a cup of coffee after her ordeal.
I get that Glenwood Garden’s policy is sterile, stupid and heartless. Why do they even hire nurses if they won’t allow them to, you know, be a nurse? What I don’t get is the employees reaction, or should I say lack of reaction. They aren’t the least bit upset that their hands are tied. That’s what’s so shocking about this incident – the complete lack of compassion and humanity. As they spoke to the 911 operator I kept envisioning them rolling their eyes. That’s what shocked me.
As I listened to that 911 call I couldn’t sit still. Even though I knew how the incident ended (the woman died) I kept thinking someone would intervene. It just seemed so instinctive. I kept thinking… okay, these nurses aren’t going to help, but they’re going to start yelling for someone who can. They are going to do something. But they did nothing. They didn’t even seem to care, and that’s what’s chilling.