ST. GEORGE, Utah – Doctors told the Rowley family what happened to their daughter earlier this week usually ends in death or severe brain damage, but thanks to one officer's heroic actions she is now expected to make a full recovery.
That teen was one of two lives that School Resource Officer Matt Schuman is credited with saving in a single day earlier this week.
“I wanted to live, I didn't want to die young,” Megan Rowley said from her hospital bed.
The 14-year-old girl recently woke up in the emergency room, not knowing why or how she got there.
“I was just getting scared, I just wanted mom,” she said.
Megan suffered a seizure and went into cardiac arrest Tuesday at Dixie Middle School.
Her father, now at her bedside, watched his daughter's brush with death.
“All the thoughts run through your mind of everything you've done with them,” John Rowley said.
Around 1 p.m. Tuesday, Megan called home after she was feeling dizzy in gym class. Then she quickly became violently ill.
“I didn't know what was going on,” she said.
When Megan's dad got to the school, she was vomiting, and as they walked out the doors, she fell to her knees.
That’s when Schuman rushed to her side.
“I noticed her color was extremely pale, paler than I had ever seen,” he said.
Schuman called for an ambulance, and then Megan suffered a seizure.
“So I checked for a pulse, and I checked for breathing, and I didn't get either,” he said.
Megan was in cardiac arrest.
“My training kicked in, along with a lot of natural instinct, and I went to work,” Schuman said.
Megan began breathing, and Schuman said “She was fighting, she was fighting for life.”
She went into cardiac once more, and Schuman continued performing CPR until EMTs arrived at the scene.
“Watching him in action, there was a peacefulness that came over me because he knew what to do,” John Rowley said.
Using a defibrillator twice, EMTs were able to revive her.
“As soon as they shocked her and she started breathing on her own, the relief was overwhelming,” Rowley said.
Now, the Rowley family is hailing the officer as a hero. But Schuman says he was simply doing his job.
“This is what police officers do, so this is why we get into this profession: to save lives, to help people, to serve and protect,” he said.
Megan had a message for Schuman: “I would just say, ‘Thank you for saving my life.’”
John Rowley added: “He's our hero, and thanks for saving her.”
Megan is doing well and smiling. She has a procedure scheduled for Monday and is expected to be back at school in a couple of weeks.
And Schuman saved more than one life Tuesday. As he was returning home from working at a wrestling match, he heard dispatch reporting an infant was choking. Realizing he was just a few doors from the scene, Schuman responded and cleared the infant’s airway, saving the 9-day old baby’s life.