BAKERSFIELD, CA - Most people probably feel a moral duty to help someone, but does the law protect you when you administer CPR or medical help to a victim?
On Friday, 17 News aired the dramatic 911 tape of Tracey Halvorson, a local dispatcher, begging a nurse to do CPR on 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless, a resident at Glenwood Gardens' independent living facility.
Despite the calls for help, the staff refused to initiate CPR. Glenwood Gardens said it's against the facility's policy.
But, as a nurse, did she have a duty to act?
17 News spoke to David Stiles, a local attorney who specializes in elder neglect and skilled nursing facility law. "If she's a qualified medical professional, she's not only statutorily immune from a lawsuit for helping, it seems to me there's that much more legal and moral obligation to assist," he said.
Stiles said the "Good Samaritan" law encourages people to help strangers without risk of being prosecuted.
"If you are rendering assistance to a person who is having an emergency, you are immune from a lawsuit for anything that happens," said Stiles.
"If you're doing what the 911 operator tells you to do, you're safe from any legal problems," he continued.