Bunkmates credited for helping save inmate’s life, both CPR trained

CRESCENT CITY, Calif. (KIEM)-A Del Norte County jail inmate can thank his bunk mates for helping save his life.

“He wasn’t feeling well, he hadn’t been getting his meds, I guess, he just started getting, turned purple, going blue,” said inmate Douglas Powers,  

Douglas Powers had no idea the evening of October 14th, he’d use the lifesaving skills required to work as a commercial fisherman on the North Coast, he says every commercial fisherman is trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. 

“I’m a commercial fisherman, my boss put me through a safety survival class,” he said.

When he saw his bunk mate turn blue, he and another inmate jumped into action.

“I laid him out on the bunk, me and another guy gave him CPR, you know, I gave him mouth-to-mouth, he gave him chest compressions,” he said.    

“We seen him take a deep breath, at that point, like OK I’m helping, let’s keep going and that’s when the guards came out and told us to come out of the room, and they hooked up a machine to him and they did the compressions themselves.”

Correctional Officer Connor Sperling worked that day.

“We had everybody secured into their housing units so we could take over,” he said.  

After about ten minutes of continued CPR, outside agencies were called.  

“He wasn’t coming back, we notified the ambulance and the ambulance came in, and then we had Crescent City Fire come in as well.”

 It was determined the man had a heart attack, and has since recovered.  

“He got life flight to Medford, he had open heart surgery, he had two stints in his heart,” Powers said.  “We communicate on the phone, he don’t remember nothing.”

Powers says, the inmate who helped him, was also trained in CPR, training allowed them both to stay calm and focused.

“I mean, it happened so fast, you it was kind of a thing everyone was panicking you know I’ve been through a class before so you kind of know what to do,” he said.  

CPR classes are available through organization such as the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association or your local fire department.