Ethics experts say there are many complex ethical questions in the death of elderly woman


It’s been one week since Lorraine Bayless was refused CPR and died at a local senior living center.

Ethics experts said the nurse on the 911 tape faced an impossible choice: give CPR to a woman who could die despite your efforts and risk being fired.

Or follow company policy and go against her instincts as nurse to save a life.

We spoke to the director of the Kegley institute for ethics at CSUB.

Christopher Meyers said the nurse at Glenwood Gardens was in a no-win situation and is now likely dealing with the lingering effects.

"There is no doubt she will have emotional stress probably some post trauma… she does not deserve to be a scapegoat she did what they demanded of her," Meyers said.

Some have questioned the ethics of Glenwood Garden's policy not to perform CPR in their independent living facility.

"I am sure they will be carefully reviewing that after this incident as will every other institution in town and across the country," Meyers said.

He said the fact that the story stirred emotions around the world is a good sign.

"To hear somebody actively pleading for the life of somebody else it really hits us right in our gut and we can't help but react to that and thank goodness we do it’s a sign of our great compassion for one another,” Meyers said.

There are also questions about the ethics of broadcasting the tape.

Meyers said he understands why the tape got such wide media exposure.

He just hopes it will lead to a deeper discussion about end of life issues.

"There will be a number of lessons to come from this. One good one is if you are think these are your final days or a loved new final days you know you don't want that kind of aggressive intervention in any circumstance perfect opportunity to fill out an advance directive and indicate on it do not attempt resuscitation," Meyers said.

Meyers said statistics show even if CPR had been started immediately its likely she wouldn’t have survived.

He said she probably would have also suffered a lot of pain from broken ribs caused by chest compressions.

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