64-year-old nurse dies while saving paralyzed patient from house fire
A 64-year-old home nurse died while rescuing her patient with paraplegia from a house fire in Louisiana, USA.
Paraplegia is a “complete or partial paralysis of the lower half of the body,” as described by the Winchester Hospital.
Gwendolyn Theus rushed to her 71-year-old female patient’s room when the house started to catch fire on Nov. 23. Theus tried to wheel the woman’s bed out, but was unsuccessful, as per the Louisiana Office of State Fire Mashal’s Facebook post on Nov. 25.
The nurse then pulled the patient from the bed and tried to push her out of a nearby window. However, Theus was overpowered by smoke before she could get the woman out of the burning house.
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Neighbors also tried to help the patient from outside of the room before firefighters reached the home. Once the officers arrived, they pulled out both women from the bedroom before administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to them.
Despite the firefighters’ efforts, they were only able to revive the patient. The officers then flew the survivor to a burn unit in Mississippi. The fire department assured that the elderly patient is expected to make a full recovery.
Following the incident, State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning paid tribute to Theus’ heroic act.
“Ms. Theus’ valiant efforts to put her patient’s life before her own are both admirable and heartbreaking,” he said. “Our prayers are with her loved ones and with the surviving victim for her recovery and loss of her dedicated nurse and friend.”
Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the flames. They have been unable to enter the house due to its extensive damage. /ra
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