CPR ‘Refusal’: When Does Policy Override Judgment?
I have been sitting on this story for a week now. I had a real hard time not knee jerking an opinion like I usually do, because I wanted to see if my knee jerking predictions were going to be correct concerning the outcome. All were, except one.
The story I'm referring to is the one about the nurse who allegedly refused to do CPR on a resident in a senior living facility in California. The resident died at the hospital after EMS transport.
There are so many issues here and just as many opinions! Of course, most fellow nurses were horrified at the alleged refusal. Then the legal-eagles and the ethicists chimed in. They were horrified too. But wait a minute, was she right or wrong? Well see now, that's the thing. She said was following her facility's POLICY. Hmmm...And at first, her facility released a statement that the nurse had acted according to their policy. Of course after a few days of national news and outcries of righteous indignation, the facility back-pedaled and stated that the nurse "Misunderstood the policy."
Baloney I say. I believe the ONLY way a nurse would refuse to give CPR is if it was drummed into her not to by the facility that employed her.
If you listen to the 911 call carefully, she never actually REFUSED to turn the phone over to another person, there didn't seem to be another person there willing to start CPR. She also remained calm and professional throughout the entire call. I'm not sure I could have, with the dispatcher putting pressure on me like that. (But then again, I would have been doing CPR and not heard her.)
One of the biggest surprises to me was that the family stood behind the nurse and the facility. That's where I was wrong. I thought sure they would sue. Call me an optimist, but I'm going to say there is no lawsuit because the daughter of the deceased is also a nurse and is showing compassion for a colleague.
But I promise you, this isn't over yet. Why? Because the California State Board of Nursing hasn't been heard from yet. And I bet that's when the CPR will hit the fan.