Earlier this year in California, an elderly woman died at a senior independent living facility after a 7-minute call between a 911 dispatcher and a nurse who refused to administer CPR which slowly stole her life away. While the company is conducting “a thorough review” of the proceedings, it was known ahead of time that CPR was “against their [company] policy.” Despite this legality, the 911 dispatcher becomes shocked and frustrated, pleading for someone – passerby or another senior citizen in the facility – to provide CPR, even offering to direct someone through it. Today show contributor, Dr. Roshini Raj reminds the public of the importance of CPR because “minutes make a difference.” Explaining that the human brain physiologically starts to die after 4 minutes due to lack of oxygen: halfway through the 911 call, the elderly woman was already dead.
Questions about the ethical and moral obligations of the nurse were discussed in the Today show clip. While it is shocking to comprehend how or why another human being would allow another person to die when they are fully qualified, this clip only scratches the surface of the inadequate systems in place in senior independent living facilities.
One important takeaway Dr. Raj made was for the public to remember that Good Samaritan Laws legally protect you if you see someone who is not breathing and try perform CPR on them – no matter the outcome. In effect, this nurse, though she could have lost her job, would have been protected by the legal system in place.
The premise, mission and lifeblood of RightCare Foundation is to help prevent tragedies like this from happening. With the proper CPR | AED training and equipment, lives can and will be changed, and minutes can turn into more years of vibrant life.