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Worker who refused to perform CPR on leave from senior center

March 6, 2013 |  9:43 am

Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield

The parent company of a Bakersfield senior living facility where a staff member refused to perform CPR  said the employee is on voluntary leave while the case is being investigated, the Associated Press reported.

"This incident resulted from a complete misunderstanding of our practice with regards to emergency medical care for our residents," Brookdale Senior Living said in a statement to the AP.

Tennessee-based Brookdale Senior Living owns Glenwood Gardens, where a staff member who identified herself as a nurse refused to give 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless CPR as directed by a Bakersfield fire dispatcher, who begged her to do so.

The staff member said it was against the facility's policy for staff to do so, according to a 911 tape released by the Bakersfield Fire Department. Bayless died Feb. 26. Initially, Glenwood Gardens said the staff member followed protocol.

"In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community, our practice is to immediately call emergency personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives," Jeffrey Toomer, executive director of Glenwood Gardens, said in a statement.

"That is the protocol we followed," he said. "As with any incident involving a resident, we will conduct a thorough internal review of this matter."

The staff member, who has not been identified, was "serving in the capacity of a resident services director, not as a nurse," said Christopher Finn, a regional director of operations for Brookdale Senior Living.

Glenwood Gardens "is an independent living facility, which by law is not licensed to provide medical care to any of its residents," Finn said in a statement.

Bayless' family said in a statement to the Associated Press that they do not plan to sue Glenwood Gardens. Family members said they regret that "this private and personal time has been escalated by the media," according to the AP.

The 911 tape has garnered widespread attention and prompted an investigation by the Bakersfield Police Department.

"Our family knows that Mom had full knowledge of the limitations of Glenwood Gardens and is at peace," the family's statement read.

The Bakersfield property has multiple buildings with different state licenses. One is licensed by the state Department of Public Health as a skilled nursing facility and is able to provide medical care.

Another is licensed by the Department of Social Services as an assisted living facility, which does not provide medical care but assists with daily tasks. Another portion of Glenwood Gardens is an independent living facility, which is not licensed by the state, does not provide medical care and operates like an apartment complex for senior citizens. Glenwood Gardens officials have said Bayless lived in that building.

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-- Hailey Branson-Potts

twitter.com/haileybranson

Photo: A man walks near the main gate of Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield. Credit: Gosia Wozniacka / Associated Press

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