Celine Showman had planned on spending an evening out with her eight-year-old daughter, Megan. They’d have dinner at a Japanese restaurant and then catch “Alvin and the Chipmunks” at the movies. But midway through dinner, Showman fell off her stool and crashed to the floor in a clatter of dishes—a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. Megan, terrified to see the color draining her mother’s face, screamed for help.
Three Navy corpsman—Maggie Reusi, Marvin Flores and William Vega—happened to be having dinner at a table nearby. They didn’t hesi-tate when they heard the little girl cry out. They called 911 and ran over to Showman to begin CPR. Jake Shumante and Capt. Joe Napier from the Vista Fire Department were nearby when the 911 call came in. They arrived within two minutes and restarted Showman’s heartbeat by shocking her with an AED. While responders worked, the trio of corpsman contacted Showman’s husband, Bill, and comforted their frightened little girl. “Not only did they save my life, but they took care of the love of my life, my daughter,” Showman says.
At Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, physicians used therapeutic hypothermia to bring down her body temperature and reduce the chances of permanent brain damage. After several days in a coma, she woke up. Showman had surgery and was given an implanted defibrillator in case her heart should stop again. Showman returned home to her family on a very special Christmas Day.