Local nurse hailed as hero after disaster rescue

Gladys Peters knew her 40 years of experience as an registered nurse could be of use here in Louisiana.

A St. Louis Red Cross volunteer nurse is being heralded as a hero for saving a man's life on the front lines of the massive flooding in Louisiana.

Volunteer Red Cross Nurse Gladys Peters travelled to Louisiana to help provide medical support for red cross staff members- who often forget to take care of themselves when helping out in disaster zones.

But in the midst of the chaos and devastation of that flooding, she ended up saving the life of a total stranger in a Red Cross parking lot.

“I just feel I was in the right place at the right time,” said Peters.

Peters knew her 40 years of experience as a registered nurse could be of use in Louisiana. A byproduct of disaster - traffic jams and long hospital waiting lines - brought a dying man to her doorstep.

“They saw our universal sign, which is the red cross. In Mexico they knew the universal sign means they can get help,” said Peters.

The man, who didn't speak English, was suffering from heat stroke.

“He was potassium depleted, he was cramping all over. We couldn't get him out of the truck because we didn’t think that would be safe,” said Peters.

With the help of two other nurses and a translator, Peters was able to get that man seen at a local hospital. Doctors later told them their quick thinking and quick actions saved that man's life.

“In the emergency room I was used to doing this, but not in this particular setting. We had agreed, on our watch, we were not going to let anyone fall,” said Peters.

Peters never saw the man again, but later reunited with the translator who had a message for the nurses from the man they saved.

“These [nurses] were like his angels ... for what they did for him,” said Jerry Silva, Red Cross Volunteer and Interpretor.

Peters has been on five disaster missions in the past six years. She says after a short break she will likely head back to continue her work. And more help is needed, she says, as the flooding in Louisiana has destroyed more than 150,000 homes.

(© 2016 KSDK)


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