(BAKERSFIELD, Calif.) — The family of the elderly woman who died after she was denied CPR at her retirement home released a statement Tuesday saying that 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless received adequate care at the Bakersfield, Calif., facility, and that she had wanted to die naturally.
The case attracted national attention after a harrowing, seven-minute 911 call revealed a staff member at the Glendale Gardens independent living facility had refused to perform CPR, or find someone else to perform CPR, on Bayless after she collapsed.
On the recorded call, a 911 dispatcher can be heard pleading with the staff member to find someone who would perform CPR on Bayless, saying, “Is there anybody there that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?”
“Not at this time,” the woman replied.
Although the woman identified herself as a nurse on the call, she was later reported to be a resident services director at Glendale Gardens.
Bayless was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Brookdale Senior Living, which owns Glendale Gardens, initially said the employee was following company policy by waiting for first responders instead of administering medical care herself. But on Tuesday, the company released a statement saying that the employee had not understood the company’s guidelines and was on voluntary leave pending an investigation.
“The incident resulted from a complete misunderstanding of our practice with regards to emergency medical care for our residents,” the Tennessee-based company said. A spokesperson for Brookdale Senior Living said there would also be a companywide review of its emergency medical policies.
In its statement, Bayless’ family said the incident provided “a lesson we can all learn from.” The family also announced it had no intention of suing the facility.
“It was our beloved mother and grandmother’s wish to die naturally and without any kind of life prolonging intervention,” the family said. “We understand that the 911 tape of this event has caused concern, but our family knows that mom had full knowledge of the limitations of Glenwood Gardens and is at peace.”
The family also said it was surprised by the amount of attention the incident received.
“We regret that this private and most personal time has been escalated by the media,” the statement said.
According to fire officials, Bayless did not have a Do Not Resuscitate Order, but this was not confirmed by the family or Glendale Gardens.
The incident not only made national headlines but has also triggered several investigations. The Kern County Aging and Adult Services is looking into possible elder abuse, and the Bakersfield police are working to determine if a crime was committed when the nurse refused to find someone to perform CPR.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Eliza Mackintosh, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN