The recent flap over the nurse “refusing” to give CPR to a dying 87-year old resident of an assisted living facility is an excellent opportunity to open a dialogue on elder care and the need for reform. As a 67-year-old nurse with more than 20 years of hospital floor nursing, I think I might have a modicum of believability on the subject.
Listening to the dispatcher insist on CPR, though the woman was breathing and paramedics were on the way, was disconcerting. You cannot do CPR on an 87-year-old due to the frailty of the bone structure. But the overriding issue is whether the woman had a Do Not Resuscitate order or living will. If not, why not?
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