Woman's Refusal to Administer CPR Sparks Controversy

Elderly woman's death stirs up debate over obligation to follow 911 responder's directions.
2:05 | 03/04/13

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Transcript for Woman's Refusal to Administer CPR Sparks Controversy
You have heard the 911 calls, an employee at a retirement community refusing the plea of a 911 operator to give cpr to an elderly woman who had collapsed. What happened has raised big questions about what is right and what is legal. Here's abc's dan harris with some answers. She's possibly not breathing, okay? Reporter: We heard the tape, the desperate 911 dispatcher, trying to convince an employee at this independent living facility to give cpr to 87-year-old lorraine bayless who had collapsed on the floor. We need to get cpr started. Yeah, we can't do cpr. Are we just going to let this lady die? That's why we're calling 911. We can't wait. She can't wait right now. Reporter: The passion of the dispatcher and passivity of the employee have created outrage and this question -- isn't the facility obligated to help? The worker and her boss say no, that this is not a nursing home, but an independent living facility, which, by law, is not licensed to provide medical care. While local police said today they are investigating whether there was any criminal wrongdoing in this case, experts say -- what happened here was legal. Believe it or not, we don't have to be a good samaritan. Reporter: Back on the 911 call, as bayless continues to lie dying on the floor, the dispatcher tries a different tactic. Is there anybody there that's willing to help this lady and not let her die? Not at this time. Reporter: So, the second question. If a stranger had jumped in, could they have been sued? The answer -- improbable. Most states have laws protecting good samaritans. Lorraine bayless ended up dying in the hospital. But there is this to keep in mind. The statistics are as low as 3%, just 3 out of 100 people would survive. You know, cpr, when done properly, does often result in broken ribs, so, it can be very traumatic. RepONIGHT, DOCTORS Tell us, just because the olds of success are low, that doesn't mean you don't try to save a dying woman. Dan harris, abc news, new york.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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