Lifeguard paramedic dies from H1N1 flu complications

Published: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 11:14 AM.

A Lifeguard Ambulance paramedic is dead and his wife is fighting for her life after both became infected with the H1N1 flu virus, according to family members.

Rodney Gajewski died Sunday night, after calling 911 for paramedics to help him. His sister, Sheela Cooper, Ft. Lauderdale, says she spoke with her brother Saturday and he had just finished a breathing treatment.

“I talked to him the night before. He prayed for his wife, for himself. The next day he called paramedics because he couldn’t breathe.”

Cooper says she doesn’t believe her brother realized how sick he was.

“He was a fighter. I think he thought he was getting better, but he wasn’t. He was more concerned about his wife. That is just the way he was. He cared about everyone.”

Cooper says Kelly Gajewski, who works as a toll taker at the Garcon Point Bridge, has been hospitalized for about three weeks. “She was sick first. It’s very bad. This is her fourth day at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is in an induced coma. She doesn’t even know he’s dead.” Cooper says Kelly is undergoing a ten-day treatment. “This procedure is her last chance. If she makes it through, she’ll be fine.”

Lifeguard Ambulance employees are grieving.

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