Refusing to do CPR - page 3

LTC facility. Worked with a nurse who refused to do cpr...what do you think?... Read More

  1. by   BrianWhitfield
    Thanks for all of the kind support.

    1. The entire case was documented under oath by the CNA's, the LPN that enventually came to my mother's aid, and the EMT crew. The state department of health conducted the investigation based on an anomous tip. The department of health asked the attorney general's office to get involved. We also have the investigative results documented by a investigator from the state district attorney's office.

    2. My mother was a full-code "early-out" to the ER.

    3. The RN had known emotional/stress problems. She had been written-up for assaulting another resident a few days before. (I.e. they knew she was dangerous....)

    4. The CNA's were under strict orders that they DO NOT call 911 without RN approval.

    5. The CNA's were were wonderful. In fact, one of the CNA's that had become close friends with my mother stayed the whole time and held my mother's hand until the finally died.

    6. The nursing home did not call the family. I found out later that evening when I got a call from the local ER and the MD said "I don't know what happened at that place, but your mother is here dead....". (nice way a breaking news to next of kin)

    7. To this day, 8 months later, I have never received a phone call or note of condolences from the nursing home or it's staff.

    8. Just last week, I was able to get enough strength to look at my mother's possessions. The last entry in her journal read something to the effect "feeling dizzy, having problem with weakness in left side...."

    9. The criminal charges are being prepared by the State of Alabama District Attorney's office.
    Last edit by BrianWhitfield on Jun 11, '02
  2. by   BrianWhitfield
    I want to make sure everyone understands that I think the world of nurses and CNA's. I enjoy reading your wonderful stories on this forum. I spend a lot of time browsing nursing related boards trying to understand what could have possibly have happened.

    Furball, Cathy, Catlady, and Huganurse. If you send your email address to me at, I will send you a MS-word story about my mother.

    Last edit by BrianWhitfield on Jun 11, '02
  3. by   Sleepyeyes
    My condolences, Brian, on the loss of your mother. However it happened, whoever was at fault, I can fully appreciate your feelings of anger and helplessness. I hope that you know that you have a lot of support here.
  4. by   BrianWhitfield
    Thanks for the kind support Sleepyeyes. The guilt, anger, etc has really taken it's toll on me. I have spent an incredible amount of time poking around the net trying to understand how this could have happened and how I might be able to help prevent from happening any anyone else. My gosh! My mother was only 72 and fully altert. Dammit! She was only in the NH because she couldn't walk and I couldn't be there 24/7 for her.
  5. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by Huganurse
    Brian, I'm so sorry to hear about what has happened to your Mom. It is so very horrendous. I can't believe a nurse would allow this to happen. However, I do wonder, what caused the nurse to react this way? It's just not a nurses way to allow something like this to happen. Brian, please don't think I'm taking the nurses side but there is another side of this story. I'd love to hear the nurses side. I wonder if these CNA's had cried wolf so many times that the nurse had no choice but to ignore them in order to get her work done. I wonder if they truely let the nurse in on the seriousness of the problem. I wonder how many patients the nurse had responsability over? I'm sure you have gotten your information 2nd hand and from what you posted it sounds like the CNA's may be the ones who are doing the telling.
    The ultimate responsibilty for this resident rests with the RN-NO Excuses...paperwork comes second after the well being of the resident...
  6. by   micro
    "The resident that suffered needlessly was my mother."

    So sorry and so angry with you.
    Yes mistakes happen, but this was no mistake.....this was at best outright negligence and far worse...

    Love the memories of your mother.

    all my love
  7. by   nursedawn67
    Originally posted by ktwlpn
    IMHO-I believe that the night nurse was doing exactly what she was supposed to be doing-she assessed the resident and was calling the doc.She never should have been fired-I hope she gets a lawyer...The day shift nurse that walked into the room to find a resident with a full code status and did not start CPR-looks to me as though she should be loosing her license.A head injury does not automatically mean an ambulance ride in my experience...I have assessed many a head injury per policy at whatever institution I was working in-some really looked ugly-but no change in VS-no sign of ICP....No telling what really caused this fella to die when he did-was an autopsy done? Shame that he was a full code given his diagnosis-perhaps that day shift nurse could have worked with social services and the residents family to explain what was going on with him and help them accept his terminal dx....This may have been avoided....
    My thoughts exactly!

    My question is if the day nurse had the right to refuse CPR...what if goodguynurse had refused also? So what we can say ok you get to die because none of us feel like we can handle it?!?!?

    Full code is full code you do all the steps...cpr....transfer all of it!!
  8. by   BrianWhitfield
    Gosh! I sure appreciate all of the kind support. It really helps to hear from people of this honorable profession that my outrage is not unfounded. What scares the hell out of me (excuse my French) is this individual is still out there with a valid license. The state board of nursing is "too backed up..." to look into the matter and the attorney general's office say "these things take time...". Who else's life is in jepardy? It's been over 8 months now!!! More than one person died that mother...and part of me. My faith in "the system" has been lost forever. How can I ever trust my fellow man and that the "system" will protect society.

    If the management had stepped iin when the first signs of problem occurred and helped this RN, my mother might still be alive and the RN rehabilitated and leading a productive life. Every night while I am trying to go to sleep, I can hear my mother screeming for someone to help her. They just stood there and watched her die......
  9. by   NurseDennie

    I'm so sorry for the pain that was inflicted. The thought that runs through my mind when I hear the actions and words you describe of this nurse: She's nuts. I think that about sums it up.

    You can hear the incredulity in the responses of the nurses here. We can't any of us understand someone with education and training as a nurse acting that way. So the only way I can wrap my mind around it is to say that there is something pathological going on in her mind that completely negates her education as a nurse, her training in the LTC facility and her normal responses as a human being.

    Let's all hope that the criminal charges proceed apace and she soon loses her license, and can't make real nurses look bad any longer.

    I think that the facility probably has instructed its staff not to contact you to offer condolences. It's just a shame that they're following these instructions. I don't know about that facility, but I've never worked anywhere in health care which didn't require ALL staff to be certified yearly on CPR, including CNT's (especially CNT's).

    I've been a CNT. I would have called 911. S***w the nurse, s***w the policy, s***w the facility. There are some things you can live with and some things you cannot. Getting fired for calling 911 to save a resident, comes under the first category.

    I also hope that you don't take these sayings from us nurses here on this bb as ANY kind of "shoulda-woulda-coulda!" No, we're all mad as he!! that something like this could and did happen, and if you have browsed these bb's for any length of time, I hope you recognize this as our way of working through hearing about something like this.

    I hope that you will be able to receive some counseling to help you come to terms with this and make peace inside yourself. I'll betcha that I'm not the only one here on the bb who has already added you to our prayer lists.


  10. by   CATHYW
    Brian, just PM me. I'll be very interested to read what you have. As far as the CNA's, I'm sure they are good people. I was not aware that they could not call 911. I will say that, before I watched somebody suffer the way it sounds as though your mother did, if I was a CNA there, I would have raised a fuss that couldn't be ignored. If nobody paid attention to me, I would've called 911, and hang the consequences. How could they fault a caregiver for doing something to help your mother? If they had followed all of their guidelines, I'd have done it, in a heartbeat, before watching a lady die.
    There is NOTHING, and I repeat, NOTHING that RN was doing that coul'dve been more important than your mother, unless another resident was crashing, too. We are talking the simplest of triage situations, here! Do you know how experienced this nurse was?

    BTW, Brian, are you a nurse?
  11. by   live4today
    (((hugs))) Brian. So sorry for the loss of your mother and how her death occurred. I do not understand for the life of me why things happen that are under our control to do something about, but unfortunately, there are people who just don't get it. I hope you take NurseDennie up on her advice and seek some counseling for yourself so that you can come to terms with your loss, and how it happened, or even why it happened. Your mother would want you to move on and live a happy and peace-filled life. Cherish her memory, and allow the part of her that is in you to live on. You are in my prayers, too. :kiss

    As for the first scenario mentioned by nursegoodguy, sounds like the dayshift nurse should have been terminated and not the night nurse. What a mess! I hope the truth comes to light about what happened here and the right person be dealt with. Any nurse who refuses to do CPR until the EMTs arrive should be fired and reported to the State Board of Nursing where she/he works.
  12. by   Huganurse
    Thanks Brian for helping me to understand your situation. I shouldn't have made you explain yourself for my own benefit, please accept my sincere apology.
    Last edit by Huganurse on Jun 30, '02
  13. by   Carolyn859
    I am currently a Director of Nursing in Home Care but worked in sub acute and LTC management for many years. Number one error was not reporting the head injury to the physician. The question would then be were neuros initiated? Most facilities(and all should) have protocols for head injuries. Back to bed immediately would be the first step then neuros and v/s. MD notification is imperative and most nursing homes are required to report head injuries, falls with fractures to state authorities within a period of time. Initiating neuros and v/s may or maynot have given any warning but sure would let everyone look a lot less foolish. CPR is not initiated whenever positive signs of death are obvious to you. This is Rigor Mortis,tissue decomposition,severe mutilation(decapitation),lividity, and cold lifeless body in warm environment. Otherwise when the person is a full code all attempts to resucitate should be initiated. To me, all were responsible at varying levels. This man did not get the care he deserved but thank God you came along. The person who refused to do CPR should be reported to the Nursing Commission and terminated. I have little tolerance for those who refuse to do that for which they were trained. Amazing!