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A comment on the post that never was “Poor Risk Management + ‘nurse’ = Death”

Reader ryan chimed in on a topic more or less already covered to death, the Bakersfield “nurse” that said she couldn’t do CPR on a person who collapsed.

We learned after the initial uproar that the patient had expressed a desire NOT to have CPR performed, but did not do so through the usual channels.

We have also learned that the facility stands by their policy to, well, stand by if you collapse.


ryan commented:

"im still confused on this, isnt there a duty to act the same as an emt who is at work?"


Nurses do not have a duty to act under their licensing.  It is true that if the facility hired an EMT to wander the halls they would be required to administer CPR regardless of company policy (and in the absence of a valid DNR of course) but this “nurse” had no such requirement.


I use the term “nurse” carefully here.  I’m not discussing Nurses or Nursing but instead the gray area of “nurse.”

I’ve been on more calls than I can count where someone presents themselves as a “nurse” then makes it painfully obvious they are not any such Nurse I’ve ever heard of.  Then after the patient begins to recover because of our interventions expresses that they are a nursing assistant, student nurse or any variety of care giver, but nowhere close to an RN.

More concerning to me than the lack of a duty to act was the almost complacency by the 911 caller to identify herself as a nurse, then refuse to give care.  In this economy I can understand wanting to keep a sweet gig like that one.  Imagine getting called a nurse and not being allowed to help people.


Multiple sources list her qualifications differently, so much so that determining her level of accreditation, experience and licensing can’t be relied on so I have to go with “little to none.”

It’s frustrating to think this facility sells this product, promising to call 911 instead of intervening or, better yet, educating their clients to seek out proper advanced care directive documents instead of a “we promise not to do CPR on you.”

Imagine if she wandered off site for lunch and this “nurse” was also at lunch off site and the same thing happened.  Now ask yourself if it’s just as absurd.


Thanks for reading ryan.

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  1. ryan March 22, 2013 8:05 am

    thanks justin, this story makes me grateful for the professionals that we work with and the training that we do on topics like end of life/ DNR

  2. ryan March 22, 2013 8:06 am

    *or MOLST here in NY

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