BRIGANTINE — If it were not for his two guardian angels, an 83-year-old man may not be alive today.

Frank DeAngelis was dining at Cordivari's Restaurant in Brigantine with his wife Sue when he suddenly slumped over in his chair.

Luckily, two AtlantiCare Heart and Vascular Institute staff members also happened to be dining at the same restaurant.

Registered cardio sonographer Christina Muhlbaier said she and cardiovascular technician Brandi Gunning had just gotten dessert when they saw what happened and sprung into action.

Gunning, of Egg Harbor Township, ran over and grabbed DeAngelis to help break his fall while Muhlbaier dialed 911. The restaurant staff also dialed 911.

Muhlbaier, of Washington Township, said both women checked for a pulse. There was none. She even did an old-school "knock and rub" on the chest and still couldn't get a pulse.

She said two other men helped the women get DeAngelis out of his chair and onto the floor so the women could perform CPR. Gunning supported his airway and his head while Muhlbaier performed chest compressions while they waited for paramedics to arrive.

DeAngelis regained consciousness fairly quickly and was even able to talk and answer a few questions. Moments later, Brigantine Fire/EMS, Police and AtlantiCare paramedics arrived. They transported DeAngelis to the hospital where surgeons performed a cardiac catheterization. Balloon angioplasty was used to open one artery and a stent was placed in another artery of the heart.

DeAngelis is recovering and feeling better.

"It was a miracle that they were there. We were supposed to go to another restaurant and we changed our minds. It was a million-to-one-shot that Christina and Brandi were there. I consider them my guardian angels," DeAngelis said.

Muhlbaier said she and Gunning also had plans to dine elsewhere that night but decided to go to Cordivari's at the last minute.

"We knew what we had to do. There was a reason for us to be there that night for Frank," Gunning said.

Muhlbaier said even though she replayed what happened in her head all night, making sure she and Gunning did everything right and followed protocol, she said she was proud.

"We both communicated quietly and calmly. Our fight or flight instinct kicked in where we tried not to get everybody else in the restaurant nervous by the way we handled everything," Muhlbaier said.

What got her so emotional was the way the other restaurant patrons reacted once DeAngelis was taken to the hospital and the women were getting ready to leave.

Customers gave them a standing ovation, applauding and calling the Muhlbaier and Gunning heroes, which had them tearing up.

Many people at other tables tried to pick up the check for the ladies' dinner. But Muhlbaier declined the offers graciously. They were just doing their jobs and happy to help.

If this has taught Muhlbaier anything, she encourages everyone, whether they're in the medical field or not to get CPR certified. You never know where and when you're going to need it.

As the hospital team wheeled DeAngelis out of the hospital this week, Muhlbaier and Gunning gave him a stuffed bear dressed in scrubs. The bear belted out James Brown's "I Feel Good" when DeAngelis squeezed its hand, prompting him to dance and exclaim, "I do feel good."

"He's a sweet, sweet guy. I told him I'm going to adopt him as a little grandpop," Muhlbaier said.

DeAngelis said he's looking forward to summer and whatever else life has to throw at him.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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