Prayers for the peaceful repose of Ms. Lorraine Bayless, and prayers for her family, which, by all appearances, is being victimized by a bumbling news media and generally uninformed public.
Prior to her natural death, following a collapse in the dining hall of the Glenwood Gardens Extended Care Facility, the 87 year old Ms. Bayless was residing in the independent living section of the facility. Her condition precipitated a call to 911, by an unnamed nurse. The 911 dispatcher, in a much publicized call, begged the nurse to administer CPR. When the nurse refused, the dispatcher begged her to find someone else who would.
The daughter of Ms. Bayless, also a nurse, has stated that she is satisfied with the care given to her mother at Glenwood Gardens.
What has precipitated the media storm, foaming at the mouth, and gnashing of teeth by so many uninformed people, is a statement by KGET television of Bakersfield, California, that the elderly lady had not signed a DNR form.
Interestingly, over in the UK, the Daily Mail says just the opposite, that the women had indeed signed the DNR form. Most who are commenting at that source are wondering what is causing the big fuss in the U.S.. In their minds, the Glenwood nurse was fulfilling the lady’s wishes.
Your friendly Pharmer would like to add that not all elderly people want to be bagged and thumped when they are in the process of leaving this world. Many truly do opt out of it, as they have accumulated too many health ailments, or fear doing so. Some realize that the success rate of CPR is not all that terrific, and the outcome for an elderly person very seldom involves springing back to the prior state of health. CPR is also generally painful after the fact, due to cracked ribs, and many other possible injuries.
None of us know the circumstances of Ms. Bayless, nor do we know her final wishes, since reports are conflicting regarding her paperwork. She need not have used a form to convey how she wished to go, and might have made her intentions known by other means.
Please avoid the temptation to ascribe this event to Obamacare (which is much worse than being allowed to die a natural death in old age). Please also withhold judgment on the nurse who stayed with Ms. Bayless as the emergency care was summoned. It would also be good to avoid assumptions about the daughter of this lady, about whom we know little, other than that she does not intend to rain down legal punishments upon Glenwood Gardens extended care facility.
Having attended a good number of code blue events, Pharmer quite understands the choice of people to opt out of CPR, and expects to make this choice for herself long before the age of 80. Many health care professionals actually feel guilty when they have to perform it on an elderly person who has not expressed their wishes on the matter.
Update from newsok.com: “City fire officials say Bayless did not have a “do not resuscitate” order on file at the home. Her family said, however, “it was our beloved mother and grandmother’s wish to die naturally and without any kind of life-prolonging intervention.””