BAKERSFIELD, CA - The preliminary death certificate filed with the county shows Lorraine Bayless suffered a massive stroke. The determination was made by her personal physician.
87-year-old Lorraine Bayless died last week at Glenwood Garden as a nurse sat beside her and refused to perform CPR, citing the facility's policy.
Bayless' preliminary death certificate suggests the stroke came as no surprise to her doctor, Jennifer Abraham, who had previously diagnosed Bayless with disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain.
"The certificate of death lists "acute cerebral accident" as the cause of death. The manner of death is natural. Just like we develop plaque and atherosclerosis in our heart, the same thing can happen in our brain," said Ray Pruitt, Kern County Sheriff's Department.
Dr. Abraham declined to comment Tuesday, citing the Bayless family's request for privacy.
Michele Shain is the director of the stroke program at Memorial Hospital. We asked her if CPR would have done any good in this case.
"it could have made a difference. Would it have made a difference in this particular situation? We don't have the answer to that, but have patients survived in a similar situation," said Shain.
Because Bayless was under Dr. Abraham's care within 20 days of her death, the case was never sent to the coroner for an autopsy.
Bayless collapsed a week ago in the dining room of Glenwood Gardens, barely breathing.
"In this case, the decedent's death did not fall under our jurisdiction," said Pruitt.
The coroner steps in to perform an autopsy under situations governed by the State Health and Safety Code. The 20 different circumstances include: unattended deaths, known or suspected homicides, possible criminal acts, suicides death following an accident or injury.
"The treating physician who was treating her prior to her death was able to determine what her cause and manner of death were and was able to sign off on her death certificate," said Pruitt.