'Dedicated' Louisiana Nurse Dies Trying to Save Patient with Paraplegia from House Fire
A home nurse in Louisiana died on Monday as she heroically tried to rescue her patient from a house fire.
Gwendolyn Theus, 64, was unable to be revived by first responders after she and her patient, a 71-year-old woman who is paralyzed, were pulled from the bedroom of a burning residence in Richland Parish by the Delhi Fire Department, according to the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal.
Rescue workers were able to resuscitate Theus' patient, who was then transported to a burn unit in Mississippi, authorities said in a news release on Wednesday.
The patient told investigators that Theus had tried multiple times to wheel her bed out of the room.
When her attempts proved to be unsuccessful, Theus pulled the homeowner out of bed and tried to push her out the window, according to authorities.
Investigators believe Theus succumbed to the smoke during this time.
Officials said that neighbors also attempted to pull the patient out from the bedroom window before firefighters arrived on the scene.
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"Ms. Theus’ valiant efforts to put her patient’s life before her own are both admirable and heartbreaking," State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning said in a statement. "Our prayers are with her loved ones and with the surviving victim for her recovery and loss of her dedicated nurse and friend."
The home suffered extensive damage and investigators have been unable to access the scene to begin efforts in determining the cause of the fire, according to authorities.
The fire department noted that the house did have working smoke alarms, something officials "stress all families should have," the news release stated.
The patient, whom authorities did not identify by name, is expected to make a full recovery.