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Nurse’s Refusal to Do CPR Causes Controversy

The controversial and shocking story causing much debate this week is that of a nurse at an elderly living facility in California who refused to perform CPR on resident who had stopped breathing. When prompted over the phone by a 911 dispatcher to start CPR, the nurse refused saying that her company had a policy against its employees providing medical care. As a result, the elderly resident died.

An article on CNN.com points out that most states have what are known as Good Samaritan laws to protect people against legal liability when they step in to help someone, but not many people know the law. Also, Good Samaritan laws have been challenged in courts.

The difference in this situation is that this happened at an independent living facility. This type of facility, by law, may not be licensed to provide medical care. They may not be required to have staff who are trained to intervene medically. Had this happened at a nursing home or an assisted-living facility, the resident would have received CPR in the same circumstance.

It’s important to know that rules vary from state to state. When looking at facilities for an elderly loved one, find out what duties the senior-living center’s staff has to its residents. Not all facilities have the same policy. So when selecting longtern care, be sure to read the fine print and ask questions.