After Brookdale Tragedy, CPR Bill Reaches California Governor’s Desk

A bill that would forbid employers from having policies against lifesaving measures has reached the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown after passing both houses of the state’s Legislature.

Sponsored by Sen. Norma Torres (D-Pamona), AB633 aims to protect employees who perform lifesaving procedures during emergencies.

The bill is a response to the death of Lorraine Bayless, an 87-year-old woman who died in March after a staff member at a Brookdale-operated senior living community in Bakersfield, Calif. refused to administer CPR when Bayless had collapsed in the community dining hall.


Citing that company policy forbade her to perform CPR, the staffer became the center of a nationwide media controversy, triggering a discussion on the liability dilemma for senior living providers in the event of such emergencies.

“An employer shall not adopt or enforce a policy prohibiting an employee from voluntarily providing emergency medical services, including, but not limited to, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, in response to a medical emergency,” the bill says, going on to list two exceptions for employees who volunteer to provide emergency services if authorized employees are unavailable, and if the resident in question has a do-not-resuscitate order, advanced directive, or something similar indicating they don’t wish to receive CPR.

The bill was amended to mention staff training:


“This section does not impose any express or implied duty on an employer to train its employees regarding emergency medical services or cardiopulmonary resuscitation,” it says.

View the text of the AB-633.

Written by Jason Oliva