Normally health care professionals try to save lives, but that doesn't seem to be the case at one retirement facility in California. An elderly woman died after one worker refused to step in.
"It's pathetic, absolutely pathetic," said medical ethicist Dr. Thomas Horowitz.
An 87-year-old being cared for at Glenwood Gardens, a California retirement facility, died after a nurse refused to perform CPR on the woman after she collapsed.
The nurse says the potentially life saving procedure is against the facility's policy.
In the 9-1-1 call, you can hear the operator saying the woman will died if no one intervenes.
Operator: "We need to get CPR started that's not enough, okay."
Caller: "Yeah we can't do CPR"
Operator: "Then hand the phone to the passerby."
Operator: "Anybody there can do CPR..give them the phone please. I understand if your facility is not willing to that give the phone to that passerby. This woman is not breathing enough she is going to die if we don't get this started."
As the conversation goes on, the 9-1-1 operator grows desperate, pleading for someone to help the elderly woman.
Operator: "They are refusing CPR they are gonna let her die."
Operator: "As a human being I don't..you know is there anybody there that is willing to help this lady and not let her die?"
Caller: "Not at this time."
Operator: "They won't touch her at all."
Operator: "Is there a gardner or any staff anybody that doesn't work for you.. anywhere can we flag someone down on the street and get them to help this lady?"
An ambulance arrived a short time after the call and took the woman, identified as Lorraine Bayless, to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
Horowitz calls the retirement facility an embarrassment.
"From the bio ethics view point, what should she have done? Something! And what did she do? Embarrassed all of us who are licensed health care professionals."
Bayless was a resident of the home's independent facility, separate from the skilled and assisted nursing facility.
A spokesman for the company has expressed their condolences and adds it is conducting a thorough review of the incident.