ATLANTA -- Senior independent living facilities across the nation are getting new scrutiny after an employee in California refused to perform CPR on an 87-year-old resident, who later died.
The employee at Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield called 911 but told the dispatcher that management doesn't allow staff to administer medical care.
"She's gonna die if we don't get this started. Do you understand?" the dispatcher told the employee.
"I understand. I am a nurse," the employee responded on the 911 recording. " I cannot do that."
"I have great sympathy for everyone involved," said Moira Keller, a clinical social worker with Sixty Plus Older Adult Services at Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital.
"I'm very sad that the woman died, but I think we need more attention on this issue of later-life and end-of-life considerations and end of life wishes," Keller said.
Keller points out there are three levels of care for seniors in Georgia: nursing homes, assisted living and independent living.
"Independent living communities will always be up front and direct with people who want to move in and families about what their scope of care is," Keller added.
Kelly said senior independent living facilities usually provide no medical care and keep no nurses on staff. They are not certified by the Georgia Department of Community Health's Healthcare Facility Regulation Division.
"If the facility followed the law then the law needs to be changed," said elder law attorney David Danda of Atlanta. "Depending on the definition of the "nurse" at the facility, the Georgia Good Samaritan Law would protect the "nurse" for providing the CPR care."
Georgia's Good Samaritan Law protects just about anyone who in good faith gives emergency medical treatment.
In the California case, the resident's daughter said despite what happened, she was satisfied with her mother's care.
Georgia's Good Samaritan Law:
TITLE 31. HEALTH
CHAPTER 11. EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
O.C.G.A. § 31-11-8 (2012)
§ 31-11-8. Liability of persons rendering emergency care; liability of physicians advising ambulance service pursuant to Code Section 31-11-50; limitation to gratuitous services
(a) Any person, including agents and employees, who is licensed to furnish ambulance service and who in good faith renders emergency care to a person who is a victim of an accident or emergency shall not be liable for any civil damages to such victim as a result of any act or omission by such person in rendering such emergency care to such victim.
(b) A physician shall not be civilly liable for damages resulting from that physician's acting as medical adviser to an ambulance service, pursuant to Code Section 31-11-50, if those damages are not a result of that physician's willful and wanton negligence.
(c) The immunity provided in this Code section shall apply only to those persons who perform the aforesaid emergency services for no remuneration.
HISTORY: Code 1933, § 88-3114, enacted by Ga. L. 1972, p. 625, § 1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 692, §§ 1, 2.