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Police: No charges against nurse who refused to do CPR

Police in Bakersfield, Calif., say that no criminal charges will be filed in the death of an 87-year-old woman who was denied CPR by a nurse at her retirement home on the grounds that it violated company policy. Police say no laws were broken, and the woman's family said their loved one did not want any life-prolonging intervention.

Criminal charges will not be filed against anyone involved in the case of an elderly California woman who collapsed at a retirement home and later died after a nurse refused a 911 dispatcher’s pleas to perform CPR, police in Bakersfield, Calif., said Wednesday.

Lorraine Bayless fell unconscious and was barely breathing at the Glenwood Gardens independent living facility on Feb. 26, prompting staff to call for help. In a dramatic 911 call released earlier this week, an unidentified nurse cites a company policy that prohibited her from performing the potentially life-saving technique, and the 87-year-old woman was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Police launched an investigation on Monday to see if elder abuse laws had been broken, but the department said on Wednesday that it had concluded its probe and will not be filing charges.

“The investigation revealed that no criminal statutes had been violated,” the Bakersfield Police Department said in a statement Wednesday night. 

While Bayless’ daughter reportedly said she was satisfied with her mother’s case, the death raised questions about the retirement home’s policy and whether the nurse had an ethical obligation to help.

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