Florida nursing home where 8 died closed to residents amid investigation

Cheryl Sanders
September 17, 2017

EIGHT pensioners died at a Florida nursing home after Hurricane Irma knocked out air conditioning leaving "elderly residents overheating". Police said they have sealed off the building and opened a criminal probe after the remaining nursing home patients were transferred to neighboring hospitals.

Those died people are listed by the office of the Broward Medical Examiner with the unconfirmed cause of the death, is such: Betty Hibbard (84); Miguel Antonio Franco (92); Carolyn Eatherly (78); Manuel Mario Medieta (96); Estella Hendricks (71); Gail Nova (71) and Bobby Owens (84). Of the eight patient deaths, seven occurred Wednesday.

"At no time did the facility report that conditions had become risky or that the health and safety of their patients was at risk", the statement says.

Irma killed at least 31 people in Florida, plus seven more in Georgia and SC combined, authorities said.

Some 4.3 million homes and businesses were still without power on Wednesday in Florida and neighboring states.

Hurricane Irma has slammed into southwest Florida, threatening to bring unsafe storm surges to coastal areas, already battered by the hurricane's powerful winds.

A woman went to check on her parents at about 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills and shot a 34-second video of a fan running in their room with a window cracked on the second floor. Then, police responded to a 911 call and found three people dead and others in struggling health.

While the state considers nursing homes high power priority centers it remains unclear why power remained off at the center days following the storm.

On Twitter Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) said he is planning to "aggressively demand answers" on how the "unfathomable" incident happened, and will hold anyone who "wasn't acting in the best interests of their patients" to the "fullest extent of the law". Police and firefighters evacuated 115 residents from the facility.

An initial news release from the city of Hollywood said that three patients were found dead in the facility early Wednesday, while others were taken to the hospital and pronounced dead there. "We believe at this time they (the deaths) may be related to the loss of power in the storm". Sharief said there are no details about the cause of the deaths.

As patients suffered at the Rehabilitation Center, help wasn't far away: The facility is located across the street from a medical complex that includes the Memorial Regional Hospital - where the center's patients were taken after the scope of the problem became evident.

The temperature in Hollywood for Wednesday is expected to get up to 88 degrees with 74% humidity.

Nursing home administrator Jorge Carballo said in a statement that the facility was evacuated Wednesday "due to a prolonged power failure to the transformer which powered the facility's air conditioning system as a result of the hurricane".

Among the state's almost 700 nursing facilities, about 150 lacked power as of Wednesday morning, said the Florida Health Care Association, which represents most of the homes.

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