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The ghost of Loraine Bayless and other things

Published March 09. 2013 09:02AM

Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield may soon be haunted. The ghost of an 87-year-old woman may roam the building looking for someone who can perform CPR. Loraine Bayless died on the floor after being denied possible life saving CPR. Company policy required staff to call for emergency responders. After responders were called, a facility staff member, who may have been a nurse, refused to perform CPR as it violated company policy. The 911 operator who took the call pleaded with the staff member to start CPR and even volunteered to talk the staff member through the process. (

I don't know why the company has a policy to deny potential live saving procedures to residents. It could be that they are afraid of law suits should the resident die despite their best efforts. In this case, I believe that the company will be sued anyway. By not starting CPR, they almost guaranteed the death of Ms. Bayless. I also believe that the staff member may be traumatized for the rest of her life because she failed to take action to assist the resident. If Ms. Bayless has any living family members, I hope they find the best lawyer they can to take action against Glenwood Gardens. This will not be a frivolous lawsuit, it certainly has merit. Nor do I expect the case to actually go to court. Given the outrage over this incident, I expect that Glenwood Gardens will settle quickly, and quietly.

In addition, the State of California should investigate Glenwood Gardens and Brookdale Senior Living, the owner of the facility and hopefully suspend their license. Clearly, this institution is not working in the best interests of the residents. According to their promotional information, Brookdale Senior Living has "647 communities in 36 states and the ability to serve approximately 66,700 residents."

Since Brookdale Senior Living has their own "captive insurance company," a very large settlement may bankrupt them. If I had a family member living in one of their facilities, I would do everything in my power to find them another place to live. Then I would check to see if there is a class action suit my relative could join. I am not a lawyer and normally I do not believe in class action suits. But in this case I believe that a class action may very well be justified.

Unfortunately, nothing can bring back Ms. Bayless. She is already dead and buried. We can only hope that this incident will focus the spotlight on senior living facilities. We need assurances that these facilities are complying with state laws while ensuring that their patients are receiving proper care. Brookdale Senior Living operates in 36 states. I suggest that each of these states launch an investigation into the facilities within their borders. Where merited, charges should be filed and penalties assessed for any violations identified.

Now would be a good time to step up inspections and audits of all senior care facilities. The death of Ms. Bayless will not be in vain if better care is given to other senior citizens. One thing is sure, if we live long enough, we will face the same issues Ms. Bayless faced. I only hope that someone who cares enough about patients will ensure that proper treatment and care is provided to us as we enter our own end-of-life care.

As many of you know, I am an immigrant to this country. I left Canada many decades ago because it was impossible to "get ahead". Our business was successful and as such was a target for government regulations, excessive taxation and unreasonable work rules. Our business was welcomed in the United States and it prospered. Now history is repeating itself. One of my daughters stayed in Canada. She and her husband started a business. They struggled to make it work and finally their efforts have been rewarded. Or have they?

They own a southern BBQ restaurant and are in the process of opening their second store. They decorated their stores with southern memorabilia and sell complementary products as part of their effort to recreate their version of the "Southern Experience". Now, they too are being targeted, most recently on the front page of the National Post, a national newspaper like the Wall Street Journal or USA Today. (

Canadians often complain about the "Tall Poppy Syndrome" and the "Brain Drain". When people become successful, Canadians often resent it. They set out to chastise those who succeed, just as they cut the blossom off a tall poppy, hence the name Tall Poppy Syndrome. As a result, those who are able to create viable businesses and achieve a reasonable income are vilified for their success. These people, the brightest and the smartest, often leave the country, creating a "Brain Drain". The cream of the crop from each generation leaves.

This "Brain Drain" is not new. It started in Britain centuries ago. Sir John Smith established the first English settlement in America and was a leader of the Virginia Colony. He and his peers created a country where everyone was accepted, regardless of their religion, nationality or social status. He only asked that those who came to America work hard. He coined the phrase "he who shall not work, shall not eat". He personally trained the early settlers to farm and work to support themselves. After several years of difficult struggle, the colony became self-sustaining. The American work ethic, American ingenuity, and the love of freedom blossomed and are as strong today as they were then.

In contrast, Canada chastises the successful, encouraging them to pack up and move south to the United States. They over tax workers. They also pay people a living wage, called welfare or the "pogey", not to work. Is it any wonder that the Canada's best often migrate south and become Americans? To me and many other immigrants, America was and continues to be the "Land of Milk and Honey". Immigrants cherish the freedoms most Americans take for granted. The next time you are in a small business, introduce yourself to the owner. Congratulate them on their success and thank them for the jobs they create. In America, we reward those who work hard. We welcome them. And God willing, we will welcome them for generations to come.

© 2013 Gordon Smith - All Rights Reserved

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