STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — New Dorp resident Eddie D’Anna, 34, started off the new year by saving a life at Synergy Fitness Club in New Springville, where he teaches a class every Tuesday evening.
On Jan. 7, Betty Morand, a regular student, arrived at D’Anna’s Beachbody “Insanity” session with her husband, Ed, a fit 75-year-old, who was participating in the workout for the first time.
“We were eight minutes into the warm-up when, with no warning signs, Ed collapsed, face-first on the floor, drawing blood,” said D’Anna, who is CPR-certified.
“I told someone to call 911, and two men came in and helped me turn Ed over. His face was starting to turn blue, his chest wasn’t moving, and there was no pulse on his hand.
“It’s time to start (CPR) compressions,” D’Anna said was his next thought.
He administered 30 steady compressions to Morand’s chest — “counting out loud” — then two breaths, followed by another 30 compressions and two more breaths.
“When I started on the next 30 compressions, Ed opened his eyes, and the dude who had his hand yelled that he got a strong pulse,” D’Anna recalled. “It was like in the movies. We kept him on the floor and backed everybody away, to give him air.”
About five minutes later, EMT personnel arrived and transported Morand to Staten Island University Hospital in Ocean Breeze.
‘OUT OF BREATH’
“I found myself out of breath within the first seven minutes” of the workout, recalled Morand, a retired NYC public school teacher with 27 years of service. What followed was an instant during which “it was like a movie, where the screen turns white, and the next thing I saw was a crowd of faces around me and I heard some applause. I don’t remember seeing Eddie.”
D’Anna holds up a plaque given to him by Morand. It thanks D’Anna and Synergy Fitness staff for their efforts saving his life.
Morand was conscious during the ambulance’s drive to SIUH, but felt “totally limp, nauseous, dizzy, with no strength,” he said. At the hospital, it was discovered that “my potassium level was down to nothing, and my body temperature was 94 degrees.”
After three days of tests in the hospital, doctors determined that what stopped Morand’s heart that fateful night was bundle branch block, a condition “in which there’s a delay or obstruction along the pathway that electrical impulses travel to make your heart beat,” as the Mayo Clinic explains it.
In his case, “the nerves on the right side of my heart were blocked from communicating with other parts of the heart,” Morand said he learned, and his medical team decided that he needed a pacemaker.
“I feel like I’m getting back into the swing of things,” since undergoing pacemaker surgery at SIUH on Jan. 11, said Morand, who has served as music director and organist at St. Teresa R.C. Church in Castleton Corners for the past 16 years.
“I’m not doing anything too strenuous, but I am getting back to my routine.”
That routine included directing the adult and children’s choirs and playing the organ at the church last Sunday, and includes plans to do the same this Saturday at the 4 p.m. mass, and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Morand reunited with D’Anna and Synergy staff at the 77 Richmond Hill Rd. gym Thursday night, presenting them with a plaque commemorating the rescue.
“I’m really glad that Ed is doing well,” commented D’Anna, a native Islander, online news editor at the Advance, and father of a 7-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.
He is a certified group fitness instructor with the National Exercise Trainers Association, and has an “Insanity” certification with Beachbody.
“Everyone should be CPR-certified — just for life, because you never know,” D’Anna recommended. “Anyone can do it, including seniors — just take a class.
“This is the first time I ever did CPR on a person.”