“Harrowing” and “Horrifying”
The Associated Press reported yesterday that an 87-year-old Bakersfield, CA, woman collapsed at the dining hall of her assisted living facility and that staff refused to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). She died.
Now, all hell is breaking loose.
Never-mind that the “residents of the facility are informed of the policy (no CPR) and agree to it when they move in.”
A nurse is being vilified by the ignorant media, politicians and others needing to score points as she was simply doing her job and adhering to policy. The policy is not a “do not resuscitate” but rather a “will not resuscitate.” No difference, just they are telling you instead of the other way around.
This situation highlights the fact that apparently healthy people, especially the elderly, can die of natural causes and not need or want resuscitation. This potential eventuality had been explicitly addressed without the need for the “DNR” order. There are many ways to skin the cat.
We westerners think we will live forever and that every sentient being should go to the great Walmart in the sky with four broken ribs, a lacerated liver and a tube jammed down our throat.
From California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform: “Independent living facilities should not have a policy that says you can stand there and watch somebody die…How a nurse can do that is beyond comprehension.”
From the California Board of Registered Nursing: “The consensus is if they are a nurse and if they are at work as a nurse, then they should be offering the appropriate medical care.”
And this bon mot from Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, chair of the California Assembly Aging and Long-term Care Committee, “This is a wake-up call.” (Not so much.)
This is shaping up as another example of the “Hot McDonald’s coffee/I’m stupid so i’ll sue you” world we inhabit. Frankly, it’s 2013, if you are in any facility and they lack one or more Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), they aren’t serious about “sudden death” lifesaving regardless of what they say or who knows or will administer CPR.
If I defy the odds and live to be eighty-seven and am in the dining hall and go into cardiac arrest, I’ll sue all right.
I’ll sue whoever dares to touch me.