Action should have been taken to save woman's life

Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 11:52 AM.

But legal shmegal. The day we let legal considerations subsume our humanness and our obligations to care for each other is the day we are lost. While I admittedly don’t know much about this case, what I do know is that when a fellow human being is in need of help, help should be rendered.

While we all have moral and ethical responsibilities to help someone in need, nurses and others medically trained have special obligations. Nurses have a similar oath to doctors’ Hippocratic Oath. It’s called the Nightingale Pledge. At the end of this pledge, possibly its most important words, it states, "I devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care."

Bayless was in the committed care of Glenwood Gardens staff, specifically the staff nurse, who was on the phone with the 9-1-1 dispatcher. The alleged Glenwood Gardens policy to call for medical help when an emergency arises but then "stand down," or more accurately "stand around," until paramedics arrive is not enough. Doing so doesn’t meet a reasonable person’s moral or ethical test.

That Glenwood Gardens policy — and the staff nurse herself — failed the Nightingale Pledge. She failed basic human kindness and compassion. We need more compassionate rules in our lives, and more caring policy at our elder care facilities, than the Glenwood Gardens policy that might be called its LTD Policy — Left to Die.

Should we allow malevolence like that at Glenwood Gardens to rule us? We create hell on earth.

Barry Fetzer is a columnist for the Havelock News. He can be reached at 

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