2017-09-15 19:32:23

Deregulated & Unaccountable: For-Profit Nursing Homes in Florida Face Scrutiny After Irma Deaths

Authorities in Florida have obtained a search warrant to investigate the deaths of eight elderly residents at a nursing home in Hollywood in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The victims ranged in age from 71 to 99 years old. They died in the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills after a transformer was knocked out following the hurricane, causing the nursing home’s air conditioning unit to shut down. Authorities say that the administrators of the nursing home were aware that the air conditioning unit had failed, and that they installed fans and portable air coolers inside the facility. But the remedies did little to protect the residents from the sweltering heat. At 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning, one nursing home resident was rushed to the emergency room of Memorial Regional Hospital, a Level I trauma center just down the street. By 5 a.m., when the hospital received a third rescue call, some hospital workers went down the street to check on the nursing home. They found a situation so critical, the hospital sent in more than 50 medical workers under a mass casualty protocol. At least 150 people were evacuated, many with severe dehydration and other heat-related symptoms.

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