A convicted murderer is suing the Sterling Correctional Facility in Colorado for failing to honor his No CPR order and saving his life while in prison.
Daniel Self, 54, who signed a No CPR form on Jan. 22, 2009, was found unconscious in his cell in the Sterling Correctional Facility by another inmate on April 4, 2009.
According to Self's attorney, Brett Lampiasi, the cellmate alerted prison guards who worked for 90 minutes to revive Self. When emergency medical technicians arrived, they intubated Self and rushed him to Sterling Medical Center.
Medical records indicate that when Self got to the hospital, he was unconcious, "Intubated, despite patient do not resuscitate request."
Lampiasi said, "That's just not excusable. It's especially not excusable when you had 90 minutes to figure out the status of the individual in terms of medical directives."
On March 30, 2011, Lampiasi filed a suit in U.S. District Court in Denver, claiming that prison officials deliberately disregarded his client's rights to refuse medical treatment.
Katherine Sanguinetti, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections, said that they cannot comment about the case because it is currently in litigation.
Self was sentenced to life in prison without parole for shooting his pregnant girlfriend, Leah Gee, in 2003. Self continues to proclaim his innocence.
"He lives in misery. He lives in a maximum security prison and I think he suffers more or less on a daily basis," said Lampiasi, who confirmed that his client has suffered from bipolar disorder. "At times, inmates fear for their life... like Dan says when you're labeled a baby-killer, there are going to be people that have it out for you on that basis alone, so it's not a great place to live."
According to medical records, the cause of Self's unconscious state on April 4, 2009 was "unclear."
Sanguinetti said as part of "standard medical protocol," there are specific cases in which medical professionals do not honor the patient's Do Not Resuscitate request, including suicide attempts.
According to Lampiasi, "the [Colorado] Department of Corrections did discuss this being a possible suicide attempt," because reportedly, medication "cards" for Naproxen and Priolosec were found in Self's cell.
But Lampiasi said that any speculation by the prison about Self's potential suicide was "conjecture" and "besides the point."
"I guess that they knew that they had disregarded DNR [do not resuscitate request] and they had to come up with an explanation," he said.
Inmate Sues Prison for Saving His Life
Sanguinetti said that the officers at Sterling Correctional Facility work to "keep the offenders in our custody safe." She said, "During an emergency you're probably not going to stop and get on a computer and look for that type of thing. You're going to react."
According to the Colorado Bar Association, DNR patients can wear a bracelet or necklace to alert emergency medical personnel that they do not want CPR measures. But bracelets and necklaces are not allowed within the Sterling Correctional Facility.