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Local healthcare providers respond to controversy over CPR denial

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COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WTVR)--Many people have been concerned after learning of the California nurse who refused to do CPR for fear of losing her job at an independent living facility.

It was caught on a 911 tape, as a dispatcher pleads for the nurse to find someone who she can talk through CPR.

The call was made for an ambulance.

Here in Virginia, similar situations have happened, according to David Sadowski Sr, with the Crater District Area Agency on Aging.

Sadowski said that in most of the instances he investigated, it came down to a lack of staff training. For many in the assisted-living profession, what happened in California was chilling.

"When I  heard that, my first thought is, my staff would not respond that way,” Stacey Bowen, with Dunlop House Assisted Living, said.

Bowen said that everyone at the facility is trained in CPR and to use their Automated External Defibrillators (AED).

One aspect many say is important to remember, is that there are times when CPR and life saving measures are not to be performed.

If a resident or patient has a “Do Not Resuscitate” order, known as a  DNR,  then life-saving measures--including medication and CPR--are not to be used.

A situation often found with terminal patients, including some in hospice care.

"If there choice is they not be resuscitated, that they not have life prolonging measures done, their wishes should be carried out," said Brenda Mitchell with Crater Community Hospice.

Those wishes should be conveyed to relatives and medical staff, as well as being documented.