TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore
Dave Ross
retirement_nursing_eldery_senior_ap640.jpg
A man walks near the main gate of Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield, Calif., Monday March 4, 2013, where an elderly woman died after a nurse refused to perform CPR on her last week. (AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka)

The policy is the policy

One week ago, at the age of 87, Lorraine Bayless died after collapsing in the dining room at the Glenwood Gardens retirement apartments in Bakersfield, California.

It was an event that wouldn't make the news but for the now-famous recording of a 911 operator begging a staff member named Colleen to give CPR. Colleen instead calls for her boss who confirms that the policy is the policy, and the policy is - we don't do CPR; we wait for the medics.

Which sounds outrageous. Until you ask yourself: What actually happened here? Well, what actually happened was that at the age of 87, a life came to a relatively peaceful end.

If Colleen sounded a little too disengaged, so did the other residents who were on the phone before her. Including one named Amy.

"Is there a defibrillator available there, Amy? Do you guys have one there?" asked the operator.

"No we don't," responded Amy.

Amy sounds quite calm. In fact at no time do you hear anyone crying for help or panicking - probably because they all know the policy.

Not just the policy at Glenwood, but the policy that applies to us all - which states that at some point - life ends. If you're lucky, it doesn't end until you're well into your 80's - but it ends.

We like to think we can change that by declaring an emergency and rushing to the rescue.

In fact, one California legislator says she plans to introduce a bill so this never happens again. Unfortunately, I think outlawing natural death may be more than even the state of California can enforce.

Dave Ross, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.
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