A hero nurse died in an attempt to save the life of a paralyzed patient trapped in a burning house in Richland Parish, Louisiana.
The fire was reported at around 6 p.m. on Nov. 23 and the paralyzed homeowner, trapped in her room would have died if not for the heroic efforts of her nurse. Gwendolyn Theus, 64, worked in nutrition services at Delhi Hospital prior to becoming a nurse. She was present there at the time and alerted her patient to the fire.
The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal said Theus did everything she could to get the homeowner safely out of there but was unable to get her through the doorway. Theus then attempted to get the 71-year-old patient out through the window, with the help of neighbors.
But by the time first responders arrived and got them both out of the home, the nurse had passed away due to smoke inhalation and couldn’t be revived. But her patient responded to CPR and was taken to a burn unit in Mississippi, where she is expected to make a full recovery.
“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.”
Theus a mom-of-six was the wife of the Rev. Billy Theus of Turkey Creek Baptist Church. On her obituary, it was mentioned that she was known for “sharing the message of hope and love with everyone she knew.”
“Gwen was a sensitive, loving, and dedicated woman of God,” the obituary said. “She gave her life to save another on the evening of November 23rd in a house fire while sitting with an elderly, paralyzed patient.”
The reason for the fire was still unknown, “Due to the extensive damage, deputies have been unable to access the scene in order to begin efforts to determine an area of origin or cause,” the state fire marshal’s report said.
The report said there were working smoke alarms in the home and also let users know about Operation Save-a-Life, a group that teams up with fire departments to provide and install smoke alarms for needy families. Theus is a real hero and will be dearly missed by her family, as she died trying to save someone’s life. Our prayers and thoughts are with Theus’s family.