The indifference to the suffering and even the life of patients is well known in Europe, and especially in the British National Health Service (NHS) where elderly and babies alike are often left to just die in sometimes horrible ways.
Sadly, this attitude is cropping up in the United States:
“An elderly woman being cared for at a Bakersfield retirement facility died after a nurse at the facility refused to perform CPR on the woman after she collapsed, authorities said.
“When the 87-year-old resident of Glenwood Gardens collapsed at the facility around 11 a.m. Tuesday, a staff member called 911 but refused to give the woman CPR…
“In refusing the 911 dispatcher’s insistence that she perform CPR, the nurse can be heard telling the dispatcher that it was against the retirement facility’s policy to perform CPR.
“During the exchange between the nurse and the dispatcher, the dispatcher can be heard saying ‘I don’t understand why you’re not willing to help this patient.’”
The full audio can be heard here.
Glenwood Gardens has since responded that it is their policy to perform CPR on anyone. It may be perhaps, that their reticence is due to the fear of lawsuits, though the nurse’s refusal to even call out to a third party passer-by is most disconcerting.
More troubling, is the passive nature by which the nurse, according to policy, handled the situation. As Ace at the Ace of Spaded HQ pointed out:
“The other thing I get from this is how far we’re going in this society to prioritize Inaction over Action. Of course the nursing home has this policy to protect itself from lawsuit — the threat of lawsuits compels people to let people die in the street. Inaction — letting someone die — is a favored position, legally, over Action. If you Act, you may get sued. If you don’t act, it’s harder to get sued.”
What happened with the nurse is an indicator of a larger problem. Ace, furthermore, sees the bigger picture:
“Look at all the hurdles and obstacles the State puts in your way if you wish to start a simple business. The sort of business that 60 years ago no one thought you needed state permission to operate.
“At every turn our society, through its laws, is transmitting the idea that Inaction — and sloth, and reliance on the state, and acceptance of one’s status, and fearing the consequences of action — is preferred to Action.
“You don’t have to be an anthropologist to guess that when the state sets about at criminalizing most things and hyperregulating whatever’s left, it creates an environment in which the average person begins with the presumption that I ought better not do that rather than the mindset our Founding Father gifted us with: I am free to do practically anything, save the few things which are obviously criminal.”
This is the society that we are allowing to be built in the United States. The old saying “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” has rarely held so true, as it does today. The indifference and inaction towards a human being in distress is but an overt and particularly shocking example. Let us at least take this warning skeleton for the portent that it is.