BOISE – A life-or-death situation at an independent living facility in Bakersfield, CA is attracting nationwide attention.
In the 911 tapes released from the incident, you can hear the dispatcher pleading for help after a nurse with the assisted living facility Glenwood Gardens refused to give CPR to an 87-year-old woman who collapsed.
ACTUAL 911 CALL
Dispatcher: "We need to get CPR started that’s not enough, Ok? Um, let me…"
Caller: "Yeah, we can’t do CPR at this facility."
Dispatcher: "Okay, then hand the phone…hand the phone to the passerby. If you can’t do it..."
The 911 call lasted nearly seven minutes, with the dispatcher continuing to push the nurse on the line to start CPR, but it never happened.
Dispatcher: "…as a human being I don’t…you know…is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?"
Caller: "Um, not at this time."
When paramedics arrived at the facility, the elderly woman was rushed to the hospital where she died.
COULD IT HAPPEN HERE IN IDAHO?
Here in Idaho on Monday, the staff at the Plantation Place Assisted Living in Boise had a scare of their own when a resident started choking in the dining room.
“There were four of us, there, qualified to help her,” said Maryann Murdock, Community Liaison for Plantation Place.
Murdock said she could not believe the story coming out of California.
“Personally, I was very upset,” said Murdock.
She said the protocol is much different at Plantation Place.
“We are all trained with CPR and if someone is choking or they collapse you call 911," said Murdock, "but you are also trained to perform CPR."
Niki Forbing-Orr with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said the State of Idaho licenses all assisted living centers in the state and each is required to have a staffer who can perform CPR at all times.
DIFFERENT RULES FOR INDEPENDENT SENIOR LIVING CENTERS
However, Idaho doesn't license an independent senior living center -- which was the case in California.
That said, Plantation place is licensed by the state.
David Leroy is a legal analyst for KTVB. Leroy said for most states including Idaho, people who do try to help save a life are protected under what is referred to as the “Good Samaritan” law.
IDAHO'S GOOD SAMARITAN LAW
“A 'Good Samaritan' law excuses somebody from liability if they render aid as a volunteer poorly,” said Leroy.
However, by law, a person is not obligated to help. “There is no requirement under those laws or any laws in Idaho that a passerby renders aid to someone in trouble,” explains Leroy.
Still, Murdock believes it is the moral duty of anyone to try and help in an emergency situation.
"We talked about how we can't imagine not being human to help someone, whether it's in an assisted living facility, whether it’s in the street,” said Murdock.
In the California case, it’s not clear if a “do not resuscitate” rule was issued.
The Bakersfield facility said they are conducting an internal review into the matter.