Bioethics Blogs

UK Regulator Sanctions Nurse for Failing to Administer CPR

Jane Frances Kendall was the nurse in charge at Moorland Nursing Home, when a resident was found by a care assistant to be unresponsive. The care assistant called Ms Kendall to attend to the resident.

When Ms Kendall attended, she found the resident to be “waxy, yellow and almost cold.” Ms Kendall stated that the resident was not breathing and having checked the resident, found that there was no pulse or vital signs of life. Ms Kendall subsequently failed to attempt CPR or call the emergency services. The resident did not have a DNAR in place and was in fact, certified dead later that day by paramedics.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council issued a caution order.  Even though Ms Kendall considered the resident had already died, because no DNAR was in place and the resident’s death was unexpected, she was under an obligation to attempt CPR and to call for emergency assistance.

There is a good analysis of this case and the (limited) scope of a nurse’s ability to determine futility in Nursing Times.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.