By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - The lawyer for a convicted murderer who is suing Colorado prison officials for ignoring a do not resuscitate order when the inmate went into cardiac arrest said on Monday that the case is about upholding the life-ending wishes of prisoners.
Brett Lampiasi represents convicted murderer Daniel Self, 54, who is serving a life-without-parole sentence for the slaying of his pregnant girlfriend in 2004.
"This is not about them bringing my client back to life, but about the fact that there is no system in place for prisoners' directives to be honored," Lampiasi told Reuters.
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, Self went into cardiac arrest at a state prison on April 4, 2009, months after he signed a directive indicating no lifesaving measures be taken if his "heart or breathing stops or malfunctions."
Prison medical personnel performed CPR, and later had Self transferred to an off-site hospital where he was ultimately revived.
The lawsuit claims Self was "horrified and shocked that he had been resuscitated against his express consent."
A spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
But in a memo to Self provided to Reuters by Lampiasi, a prison nurse said that emergency crews are required to respond in certain way.
"Since they do not have access to your records they would not realize that you had a CPR Directive signed and in your chart," the nurse said in the memo.
Self also claims that a botched surgery on his right wrist left him "grossly disfigured and ... permanently disfigured."
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Bohan)