Louisiana nurse dies saving paraplegic patient from burning house

A nurse in northeastern Louisiana died Monday night while trying to save a paraplegic patient from a burning home, the state fire marshal said Wednesday.

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Gwendolyn Theus, 64, died trying to push her 71-year-old patient out of the burning home in Delhi, KNOE reported. Theus, a home nurse for the woman, became trapped inside a bedroom with the patient after a fire started in the home at about 6 p.m., the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal said in a Facebook post.

According to officials, Theus tried several times to wheel the patient’s bed out of the home. When that did not work, Theus pulled the woman from her bed and tried to push her out of a window, WWL-TV reported. Theus succumbed to the smoke and died, fire officials said.

ONE DEAD, ONE INJURED IN DELHI HOUSE FIRE RICHLAND PARISH (November 25, 2020)- State Fire Marshal (SFM) deputies...

Posted by Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal on Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Neighbors and firefighters were able to save the patient, who is expected to make a full recovery, the fire marshal’s office said. The patient, who owned the home, was airlifted to a burn unit in Mississippi, WWL reported.

“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. “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 did have working smoke alarms, the fire marshal’s office said.

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