UNION CITY, Ohio — A week before the Darke County Fair started, Doug Cunningham was electrocuted while working on a new woodwork etching project.
“I was doing woodworking with a new technique I saw on You Tube on Aug. 9,” he said. “The first couple I did were pretty good, but the third one got me.”
Cunningham, who will turn 40 on Sept. 9, said he used a transformer out of a microwave to burn in a design on the woodwork.
“Every video I looked up referred me back to that technique,” he said. “All you do is take a transformer out of a microwave and hook it up to a power source in a 110 outlet.”
After he was zapped, his uncle, Rusty Wilson, who was outside with him started CPR on Cunningham until paramedics took over.
“The squad took me to the sheriff’s office and I was CareFlighted to Miami Valley,” he said. “I coded six times from here to the hospital.”
Cunningham spent nine days in the Dayton hospital. He woke up after two days into his hospital stay, and it was another two days before he realized what happened.
“I remember starting to work on the piece of wood and after that I remember nothing,” he said. “I have no idea what happened, honestly. I don’t know if I bumped one of the cables, but it was real scary. I was just doing it for craft work, but I won’t do it again.
Inside the home were his aunt, Teresa Wilson, his girfriend and his youngest son; they didn’t see what happened.
“It was a little scary during the first couple of storms after I came home,” said Cunningham, who has been living with the Wilsons for the past year. “But it’s all better.”
His heart is fine, he said, but indicated it was working at five percent when he got to the hospital.
“It (the electrical charge) went in my middle finger on my left hand. I have two spots on my left chest, five spots on my biceps on the right, and it came out of the palm on my right hand,” he said.
His body is still covered in bandages in various places on his body, including one above his elbow and wrist.
He said he does not remember the pain at all.
The only medication he is on is Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
“I turned down Fentanyl and Oxycodone; I didn’t want any part of it,” he said. “A nurse comes out here twice a week. I’m thankful to be alive.”
He still has to have stitches taken out of his left leg.
“They put in an impella pump to keep my heart going,” Cunningham said. “I didn’t know I had the stitches until I came home.”
Cunningham said he is not limited to any activity.
“I’m just taking it easy in my recovery,” he said.
He warns people not to use the technique he did.
The 1998 graduate of Ansonia High School worked for Whirlpool early on; moved to Sidney for awhile, then came back to this area; and has been an operator at the ethanol plant for eight years.
“I’m looking at 21 more weeks before I can go back to work,” he said.
He did get to go to the Great Darke County Fair twice for a total of three hours. When he was younger he showed beef cattle there.
“I have had horses all my life and I’m the owner of five of them now,” he said.
The son of Pam and the late Steve Cunningham, has four children who call him about every other day.
What did he do with his handiwork on the wood projects? “When I came home from the hopsital, I saw them on a little trailer in the yard. I put them in the fire pit and burned them all.”
He is forever grateful to all of the responders who assisted in his rescue that day.
Contact Staff Writer Linda Moody at email@example.com or at (937)569-4315 ext. 1749. Read more news, features and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.