8 dead at nursing home from Irma aftermath

Cheryl Sanders
September 17, 2017

Almost 3.8 million power customers in the state still lacked service early Wednesday as the mammoth effort to restore electricity in the often hot and humid region continues.

The eight people are believed to have died from heat-related injuries.

Police said they have sealed off the building and opened a criminal probe after the remaining nursing home patients were transferred to neighboring hospitals.

Even in the face of a storm that shrouded almost the entire state and had officials still piecing together its destruction, the news Wednesday from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills stood out, with victims as old as 99 among the dead and worries the count could grow.

The nursing home did have a generator, but it is unclear if the generator was functional, WSVN reported.

The deaths come as Florida continues the recovery and rebuilding process days after Irma pounded the state's peninsula.

"Parts of the facility itself were energized" by Florida Power and Light, according to the company's communications director, Rob Gould.

"There's nothing we can do", Long said. "But I can tell you this: We ought to go solve problems". Five more patients from the nursing home later died at a nearby hospital, they said.

Temperatures in Hollywood were expected to be around 86degrees on Wednesday - but feel about 10 degrees warmer.

The governor's office said "power restoration crews have been working around the clock" for what it called "the largest power restoration undertaking in history for a single state". County officials released documents showing that the Hollywood facility was in compliance with that regulation and that it held a hurricane drill with its staff in October.

Records obtained by Stat show that the nursing home was cited twice by federal authorities for violating requirements over its backup power.

"Most of the patients have been treated for respiratory distress, dehydration and heat-related issues", Dr. Larkin bought what was then called Hollywood Hills Nursing Home and Hollywood Pavilion Hospital in a 2015 bankruptcy auction after fallout from Medicare fraud convictions sunk both facilities. Police officers are conducting welfare checks at 42 other nursing home and assisted living facilities across Hollywood.

Florida utilities restored power to more residents on Saturday.

An estimated 150 facilities out of the almost 700 in the state are now without full power services, the association said. Three elderly residents were found dead on Wednesday inside the sweltering facility, which had been left without air conditioning, officials said.

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