Boss Told Me To Stop Giving Dying Co-Worker CPR, Says Service Rep

Last month, a Time Warner Cable customer service rep died at her desk. After any unexpected death, people searched for answers, explanations, someone to blame. But in this case, there may have actually been something foul afoot. A local news station reports that after a co-worker began giving CPR to 67-year-old Julia Nelson, a supervisor allegedly told her to stop and "get back on the phone and take care of customers."

Nelson slumped at her desk at the Time Warner Call Center in Garfield Heights, Ohio, and wasn't breathing by the time paramedics arrived. But before that happened, a co-worker rushed over and began administering CPR, the woman told WOIO, only to be asked to stop. Employees at the scene have confirmed this report.

The woman was also told later by another supervisor that she could be "held liable if something goes wrong."

Ohio has a "Good Samaritan" law on the books, however, which protects bystanders who provide emergency aid from being sued for unintentional injury or wrongful death.

Thanks to this legal immunity, many employees have used CPR to save co-workers lives without any risk to themselves. Last year, two co-workers resuscitated 55-year-old Brenda Halliburton after she collapsed at her desk at American Baptist Churches. One performed CPR, while the other gave her a jolt with an Automated External Defibrillator. In July, Alex Molina saw his co-worker at Yuma Proving Grounds slumped in his carseat. Thinking he was sleeping, Molina pulled over to give him a joking scare, but ended up giving him CPR until the paramedics arrived.

Unfortunately, Nelson didn't receive similar care.

Time Warner released a statement, denying any wrongdoing: "Time Warner responded appropriately to a medical emergency. Our company has procedures in place to respond to emergencies. We are saddened by the loss of one of our employees who was a co-worker and a friend. Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time."

Police are reviewing the incident, according to WOIO.

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While I am totally on the side of the employee here, until it becomes more difficult to sue every company for everything this will continue to happen. I work for a retail chain and know the policy there is to call management before anyone else (including 911). If you work in retail you might know that a small country could sink into the sea and dissapear before a manager actually showed up. I will call 911 and aid in any way I can and assume that someone will call management.

April 24 2013 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

WWHATTTTT?Isn't that why we are trained in CPR?

May 29 2012 at 3:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


May 28 2012 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert Owen

The supervisor should be liable in civil court for the death of the woman by preventing aid that might have made a difference.

May 28 2012 at 12:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Time Warner, in my opinion, is a heartless, money grubbing bunch of Socialistic, Athieistic, goons without a conscience, I dropped all subscriptions to their magazines years ago and do my best to ignore all other Time Warner products. I hope the family sues. Can you really see any honest jury not going against Time Warner in this?

May 27 2012 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rad619's comment

u need to shut the fu­ck up hoe

May 27 2012 at 6:38 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

This, sadly, doesn't surprise me. I have worked in call centers too and I have seen this type of behavior, though it has never gone to this extreme! I remember working in one place where employees weren't even permitted to use the bathrooms unless they were on break (and they were not allowed on break until the exact minute they were scheduled!) The whole place smelled like pee! Especially around the pregnant women.

May 26 2012 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At Time Warner people do not matter,only about money.Supervisors should be charged with manslaughter.

May 26 2012 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Time Warner ought to be held accountable for this woman's death since it did not make any attempt to assist her and demanded that the employee trying, STOP and get back on the phones and pull in that almighty dollar for a company that is already too big for its britches. I think that the manager should also be held accountable for his actions in this, being a coldhearted, callous freak and a total waste of human flesh. GOD, i pray he does not have kids, EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 25 2012 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gerrie Smith

everyone that got time warner change to another service I did I went to ATT

May 24 2012 at 8:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vernon Franko

It's incredible how quick people are to jump to condemn and even quicker to sue, sue, sue, when you don't even have all the facts.

Even health care professionals know that at some point you have to stop CPR when those efforts yield no results. Never stop you say? My father has been dead for 2 years now, I'm glad there is nobody at the cemetary still pumping his chest.

It's unfortunate that people die, But that is the human condition. The price we all pay for our life is our eventual death.

December 06 2011 at 10:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Vernon Franko's comment
James edwards

Gee Vernon, what a jackass! Are you a doctor?, a para-professional in the medical field even?? So glad that you won't be around anyone I know should they need some compassionate human care.. Good luck in the rest of your sorry, self-centered life! FRANKLY SPEAKING..

May 24 2012 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to James edwards's comment
Vernon Franko

Your comment makes no sense at all. Are you saying that if I was the only guy around with an opportunity to save you. You prefer that I not even try?

I am quite compassionate and would make an effort to save you anyways even after you call me names. Because that's the right thing to do. It is a selfless act to attempt to save someones life. I have saved many lives on many occasions over the years. How many have you saved?

How self centered are you that would refuse life saving simply because of your own arrogance.

July 21 2012 at 5:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Vernon Franko

You might want to tell that to the mother of the 2 children I rescued from a burning house. I'm sure she was glad that I, even as a Layperson was around to pull her two children out of the flames. True I was not able to make it to the other room to save her third and eldest child, an 8 year old. But I did the best I could. At least I got out 2 of the children before it was to late. My inability to get to the 3'rd child still haunts me at times.

Maybe you could tell that to the co-worker who had just been electrocuted, whom I shouldered and carried up 40 feet of ladder to upper decks where he could receive lifesaving treatment.

You might want to tell that to the hundred or so offshore drilling workers that I and a dozen other volunteers helped to evacuate by chopper in the middle of a raging hurricane.

Just a bit arrogant and presumptuous now are you not.

July 21 2012 at 6:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Vernon, in many cases eventually life saving measures become futile and are stopped when appropriate. However, not even EMTs and Paramedics are allowed to stop life saving efforts until they are given permission by a physician (usually an ER physician contacted by phone or radio). For lay rescuers, there are only FOUR reasons that are considered acceptable to stop CPR:
1. The life of the rescuer becomes endangered (i.e. fire, flood, aggressive dog, etc.).
2. The victim shows signs of life (breathing on their own, for example).
3. Someone with equal or greater training arrives on scene and takes over.
4. The rescuer becomes so exhausted they are physically unable to continue.

When a lay person makes the decision to assist a victim, the Good Samaritan laws only protect them when they continue to provide care until one of the four scenarios above apply. If they stop providing care without meeting the criteria above, it's considered "abandonment" and the lay rescuer can face legal charges and law suits.

Time Warner now has a HUGE problem. My guess is that the supervisor was not truly aware of the emergency procedures. If indeed there are witnesses that collaborate the co-worker/rescuer's story about being told to stop and to get back to work I hope every legal and civil remedy is sought to punish this supervisor. This was just a stupid, foolish decision made by an ignorant human being.

May 26 2012 at 1:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rmbr343's comment
Vernon Franko

I suppose then that your comment exemplifies the reason that so many people these days are not willing to get involved. Under your rational and interpretation. A failed attempt by a layperson to help someone in need can result in being sued and further legal penalties. What you say may be true but is also a sad state of affairs for the person in need as well as the samaritan who would prefer to help rather and stand idly by and watch someone die.

A lay person is exactly that. The best one can hope for from a lay person is that they at least try to help. To fault the samaritan layman for not helping enough or for not knowing what else could have been done is an error in gross and along with the threat of legal action encourages people to stand by and not get involved at all.

July 21 2012 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

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