MINNEAPOLIS - A nurse who refused to do CPR on an 87-year-old woman at a California retirement home is sparking discussion in the senior health care community here in Minnesota.
It's discussion that could eventually lead to some changes.
Glenwood Gardens officials said the nurse did not perform CPR on a dying woman even though the woman did not have a "do not resuscitate" order. The California facility said that their employee did not follow protocol.
Kari Thurlow is with Aging Services of Minnesota, a trade association of senior care providers.
"I think it's hard to hear, but at the same time I don't think we have a lot of details," she said.
She said in Minnesota, like California, there are varied levels of care, from nursing homes to assisted living and independent living facilities. Some of these facilities sit right next to each other. Protocol at each facility can be different depending on the level of care they provide, Thurlow said.
She also says the Good Samaritan law that protects everyday people who try to save a life does not protect on duty health care workers in the same way.
"They don't have that same liability shield so it has drawn a lot of discussion here," Thurlow said.
Her group is bringing providers and legal experts together in the coming weeks to discuss the topic.
"I think it's too early to comment on (on whether state law could be changed), but I think it's something that should be explored," Thurlow said.
The Minnesota Department of Health regulates health care providers in the different facilities, but for independent living communities, there may be no health care provided. They may simply be apartments for seniors.
Darcy Miner, of the Minnesota Department of Health, said it's important for consumers to find out what the senior living communities they are considering do provide when it comes to health care.
"It does raise the point that people do need to and they get to ask those question before they either sign a lease or before they bring in a home care provider," Miner said.
Police are investigating the California case even though the woman's family said they were fine with the nurse's decision.
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