Criminal probe opens into eight deaths at Florida nursing home after Irma

17 September, 2017, 01:07 | Author: Laverne Higgins
  • Criminal probe opens into eight deaths at Florida nursing home after Irma

Six patients at a Florida nursing home have died after spending days without air conditioning following Hurricane Irma.

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said four deaths occurred at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills near Fort Lauderdale and three others died at a hospital.

Lisa Baker, a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who teaches a class on disaster preparedness and co-authored the book "Vulnerable Populations and Disasters", said each new catastrophe brings lessons of how to improve planning and response. In 2014 and 2016, the nursing home was cited for not adhering to regulations related to generators in case of just such an emergency but had become compliant.

The nursing home had a generator but it doesn't provide power to the facility's air conditioning.

A total of around 115 residents were moved out of the retirement home, which has been without air conditioning for days, according to officials.

The center is a 152-bed, skilled nurse facility and is located across the street from the Memorial Regional Hospital, according to the center's website.

About 150 of the Florida's almost 700 nursing facilities were without electricity as of Wednesday morning, according to the Florida Health Care Association, which represents majority. Then, police responded to a 911 call and found three people dead and others in struggling health.

Elsewhere, Irma has been blamed for four deaths in SC and two in Georgia.

Fire rescue teams evacuated 122 people Wednesday night from two assisted living facilities near Orlando after the Orange County fire chief ordered firefighters to assess conditions of all elderly communities in the area.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he was "absolutely heartbroken" over the deaths, calling the situation "unfathomable". More than half the community of 15,000 residents lacked power.

Hollywood police said in a statement Thursday that state and local authorities are conducting a criminal investigation to determine what led to the patient deaths at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.

Police said a criminal investigation is underway and they are not ruling anything out.

Trump was traveling to Naples and Fort Myers on Florida's southwestern coast to meet with those affected by the hurricane and learn more about relief efforts.

The five women and three men ranged in age from 70 to 99.

Nursing homes in Florida are required by state and federal law to file an emergency plan that includes evacuation plans for residents.

"People are telling me different things", she said Wednesday evening.

Representatives of the for-profit nursing home, which had received a "below average" grade from Medicare's rating system for such facilities, could not immediately be reached for comment. Many stores remain closed because of the lack of electricity, meaning people are converging on the relatively few shops and eateries that are open.

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