NY correctional officers save choking inmate

Three Jefferson County corrections officers are being credited with saving the life of a choking female inmate during breakfast on Monday morning


By Craig Fox
Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Three Jefferson County corrections officers are being credited with saving the life of a choking female inmate during breakfast on Monday morning.

About 7:35 a.m., corrections officer Tamra Quencer heard the 21-year-old inmate gasping for air after food became lodged in her throat. The inmate stopped breathing during the incident in the female pod at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building, Sheriff Colleen M. O’Neill said.

The inmate stopped breathing completely, was unresponsive and her face turned blue, Sheriff O’Neill said.

With Ms. Quencer immediately calling for assistance, Sgt. Nicholas Cuppernell and corrections officer James Moore physically removed the trapped food by doing finger sweeps. A few other corrections officers also came to the woman’s aid.

“They did everything they were trained to do,” Sheriff O’Neill said.

In all, about six jail staffers were involved in helping the woman. Members of Guilfoyle Ambulance and the Watertown Fire Department’s rescue squad also were called.

With the assistance of all involved, the inmate was positioned upright where she coughed, regained consciousness and began breathing. She was transported to Samaritan Medical Center, where she was treated and returned to the public safety building a couple of hours later.

The inmate, whose name was withheld, formerly lived in the city of Watertown, according to Sheriff O’Neill. Her incarceration comes after being convicted of fourth-degree attempted arson and she is awaiting sentencing.

“All of them (the corrections officers) had a role in saving the woman’s life,” Sheriff O’Neill said.

But the sheriff also credited Ms. Quencer’s immediate response to the situation.

“She did a great job, that’s for sure,” Sheriff O’Neill said. “Because of her quick action, training and instinct, she absolutely saved her life.”

Sheriff O’Neill plans to acknowledge the actions of the corrections officers more formally later, she said.

Recommended for you

Copyright © 2021 Corrections1. All rights reserved.