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January 15, 2021

‘Admirable and heartbreaking’ – Home health nurse dies after saving paralyzed patient from house fire

A 64-year-old home nurse died saving her 71-year-old paraplegic patient from a fire, Louisiana’s state fire marshal said Wednesday.

The homeowner told investigators Gwendolyn Theus tried several times to wheel her bed out of her room and was trying to push her out of a window Monday evening when smoke overpowered the nurse, a news release said.

Firefighters pulled both women from the bedroom and administered CPR to them. The statement said the older woman was airlifted from her home in Delhi to a burn unit in Mississippi and is expected to recover.

“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.”

Extensive damage has kept investigators from getting inside the house to try to figure out where and how the fire started, the news release said.

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