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‘A life was saved that day': Wash. college student administers CPR to golfer in course parking lot

Ethan Moriniti, 20, immediately began CPR and used an AED before first responders arrived


Pictured: Tom Hatley, Spokane Valley Fire Dept. deputy chief of Administrative Support Services; Ethan Moriniti; Liberty Lake Police Chief Damon Simmons; and Mayor Cris Kaminskas.

Photo/City of Liberty Lake

By Garrett Cabeza
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Ethan Moriniti rushed to an unconscious man’s aid last fall at the Liberty Lake Golf Course, started chest compressions and shocked him with a defibrillator to help save the 67-year-old’s life.

Moriniti, 20, credited a first aid course he completed in June at Spokane Falls Community College for the skills he applied the afternoon of Oct. 2.

“Never thought I’d actually have to use it but four months later, I had to use it,” he said.

Moriniti, a Central Valley High School graduate, said he arrived for his 2 p.m. job shift where he works at the front desk checking golfers in to play. He said he noticed a man sitting on the trunk of a car in the parking lot.

The man, Mark Des Rosiers, said he got dizzy and lightheaded while walking to the 12th hole of the course but was able to tee off and hit his second shot at the hole. His symptoms did not improve, though, so one of his friends drove him back to the parking lot. That’s when Moriniti noticed him.

“As I was taking off my shoes and such: That was the last thing I remember before the EMTs finished reviving me that afternoon,” Des Rosiers said.

Moriniti said people yelled that Des Rosiers was having a heart attack, so he and a couple coworkers ran toward Des Rosiers, who was gasping for air and turning purple in the golf course parking lot.

He started chest compressions on Des Rosiers while directing one coworker to hold Des Rosiers’ head up to help him breathe, while another coworker retrieved the automated external defibrillator machine. Moriniti said he hooked up the machine, placed the AED pads on him and shocked him.

Moriniti said the fire department showed up two minutes later.

“The way Ethan took over and such and doing CPR as well as using the AED helped keep me going until the EMTs finished reviving me,” Des Rosiers said.

He said he does not recall Moriniti providing aid because he was unconscious.

Moriniti said Des Rosiers’ status improved after the AED shock and after firefighters gave him oxygen.

“He was answering questions once they put him on oxygen,” Moriniti said. “He got noticeably better once the AED machine was used.”

Des Rosiers said a clogged artery led to the heart attack. That afternoon, doctors put a stent where the blockage occurred and Des Rosiers was back on the golf course two weeks later.

Des Rosiers, a 29-year Spokane Valley resident and recent retiree from Travelers Insurance, said he thanked Moriniti after the emergency and said he may not be alive without him.

“I’m just glad that Ethan was there and stepped in to help out,” he said.

Moriniti said he was “shell-shocked,” and his mind raced when he learned of the potential emergency.

“I didn’t know what was happening,” he said. “This is the first time that I’ve ever seen it before.”

But, he said he was calm and focused once he started chest compressions. Moriniti said he was relieved when the fire department arrived.

“It felt like a weight lifted off me,” he said.

The city of Liberty Lake recognized Moriniti with a proclamation at a December City Council meeting. The council-approved proclamation said Moriniti “demonstrated bravery and heroism” when he took action that day.

”... as a result of Mr. Moriniti’s quick response and action, a life was saved that day,” the proclamation read.

Moriniti received a copy of the proclamation, a Liberty Lake Police patch and special coins of acknowledgment from the police department and Spokane Valley Fire Department, according to the city’s website. Des Rosiers was in attendance for the presentation.

Moriniti, who is studying kinesiology at Spokane Falls, said he learned CPR, how to use the AED machine and how to treat other sudden illnesses in the school’s American Heart Association First Aid course.

“It was extremely helpful, because that’s the only reason why I would have jumped into that situation right there,” Moriniti said.

As part of the three-credit class, Moriniti earned Heartsaver and Basic Life Support certifications.

Jenni Hull, who has taught the class for about a dozen years, called Moriniti a great student who always showed up and turned in his homework.

“He was so urgent about his decision to go in and help this guy,” Hull said.

Hull said a few of her first aid class students have used those skills to save lives. She told Moriniti after Des Rosiers’ heart attack that he should consider a career in emergency services because of his quick reaction.

Moriniti is set to begin his last quarter at Spokane Falls and is looking to transfer to chiropractic school this fall at University of Western States in Portland. He said his goal is to be a sports medicine chiropractor.


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