8 dead in Florida nursing home Irma left without air conditioning

17 September, 2017, 22:11 | Author: Eloise Marshall
  • Trump dismisses climate change question

Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said a criminal investigation has been opened up into the deaths of the residents, but did not offer any further details.

Broward County Mayor, Barbara Sharief informed that three people had already died inside the nursing home and the rest five died in hospital's emergency room.

"Facility administration has been in communication with Florida Power & Light and the governor's office since the beginning of Hurricane Irma, and is cooperating fully with relevant authorities to investigate the circumstances that led to this unfortunate and tragic outcome".

The first call for help from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills came around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, with staffers claiming one elderly patient had gone into cardiac arrest after the nursing home had been left without power for several days. Additionally, when the transformer powering the A/C went down, staff set up mobile cooling units and fans to cool the facility.

"They were trying to get them all together so they could be able to breathe", said Ellie Pina, who visited her mother at the facility days before emergency crews evacuated residents on Wednesday.

By Wednesday evening, the state had issued an emergency moratorium on the facility admitting new patients, and Hollywood Police were investigating whether any laws had been broken. "I think it just solidifies, we live in the greatest country in the world", he said.

Per the emergency action, all assisted living facilities and nursing homes must obtain generators and the appropriate amount of fuel to keep them in operation as well as maintaining "comfortable temperatures" for at least 96 hours following a power outage.

At the Hollywood nursing home, Jean Lindor, a kitchen worker, said through a Haitian Creole translator that the air conditioner had not been working since the storm and it had been hot inside. Dozens of hospital workers prepared a command center outside the building and gave red wristbands to patients with critical, life-threatening conditions and yellow and green ones to those who were in better conditions. The facility called Scott's emergency number two more times, Defede said, as well as an emergency number in Tallahassee, and was repeatedly told that they were going to get help. They say FPL promised a crew the next morning. "In fact, on Monday, September 11, Department of Health staff advised this facility to call 911 if they had any reason to believe that their patients were not safe".

The air conditioning was out, but Sanchez said it remained under investigation whether power was entirely cut. One of the nurses became alarmed and walked over to find out what was happening.

And asked by CNN's Jake Tapper Wednesday about why he thinks studying climate change is a waste of money, given the recent destruction in Texas, Florida and elsewhere, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney said the government remains focused on helping victims and "there is plenty of time later on to have those discussions, and I know that we will because climate change is a clearly a big topic for the media".

As for the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, there appears in the database to be a gap of almost two days between the times the facility updated its status with the state Health STAT system. The Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Children & Families have begun their own investigations.

The nursing home has a history of safety violations and citations, including two for not following generator regulations in 2014 and 2016.

She said she had yet to see any state or federal agencies or utility companies working on the ground yet.

The Florida Health Care Association also released a statement calling the situation "a profound tragedy". One of them was later evacuated because of the heat. Police used city trolleys to transport residents of Krystal Bay Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to another facility, a spokesman said.

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