Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Advanced Directives

March 5, 2013

Last night I saw a story on the news about a nurse in California who refused to give CPR to a resident in a retirement home. The 911 dispatcher was begging her to give CPR but she refused citing her facility policy. And without knowing any of the circumstances the nurse was condemned in every article I read on the internet.

This morning several publications have now stated they do not know if the woman was actually a nurse. At the time of the news story it was not known if the resident had a Do Not Resuscitate order. Just a generalized disgust at the person who claimed to be a nurse.

I do not know all the details of this particular circumstance. Apparently the elderly woman did not have a DNR order. But ANYONE can give CPR. To immediately exploit the story to bash the "nurse" is irresponsible. Would I have done the same thing? Maybe not, but I have no way of knowing. Perhaps the woman was afraid she would jeopardize her job. Perhaps she wasn't really a nurse. Let's wait to hear the whole story before we start to condemn a whole profession of dedicated care givers.

And while I'm at it EVERYONE should have advanced directives. Patients jokingly respond when asked, "He/She gets everything." Not the same thing at all. I don't care who is getting your jewelry or your house. I need to know who is responsible for making health care decisions for you. PUT IT IN WRITING. It is the kindest thing you can do for your family.


  1. Well, the EMS takes full responsibility in those cases. I mean, it's PRETTY outrageous that a whole bunch of people refused to give CPR to that lady.

  2. Did you hear the call? The operator is begging her to give the phone to a passerby so someone can perform CPR and her boss comes up and says "No, only someone sent by EMS can do it."

    The operator repeated "So you're going to let her die?" and they agreed that they were, in fact, because it was against the policy of the living center to administer CPR or allow it to be administered.

  3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9909446/Nurse-refuses-to-do-CPR-hear-the-911-call.html

    1. I heard the call. My point is this morning they don't even know if the caller was a nurse. Just get the facts straight before you bash a whole profession.

    2. Well, she did say she was a nurse. I haven't seen any articles that attack nurses in general, but I don't think it's inappropriate to identify the woman who says "I am a nurse" as a nurse.

    3. Maybe I'm just sensitive about nurses being portrayed badly. Nice to know you will resuscitate me in an emergency despite the rules!