At least 8 Dead After IRMA leaves FLA Nursing Home with No A/C.
At least 8 dead after Irma leaves Florida Nursing Home with no A/C by Michael Nedelman, Steve Almasy and Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Joanne and Herbert Dreisbach plan to stay at their senior living community in Jacksonville, Florida, when Hurricane Irma hits.
Police are investigating the deaths of eight nursing home residents in Hollywood, Florida, where oppressive heat and humidity set in after Hurricane Irma knocked out much of the power in the area.
The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills said the residents, ages 71 to 99, died “following a prolonged outage of our air conditioning system due to Hurricane Irma.”
The center did not lose power during the storm, but it lost a transformer that powers the air conditioning, nursing home administrator Jorge Carballo said in a statement late Wednesday. He added that the center immediately contacted Florida Power & Light and continued to follow up with them for status updates on when repairs would be made. Outreach was made to local emergency officials and first responders, Carballo said, without specifying when.
“Staff set up mobile cooling units and fans to cool the facility and continually checked on our residents’ well-being to ensure they were hydrated,” Carballo said. “We are devastated by these losses. We are fully cooperating with all authorities and regulators to assess what went wrong and to ensure our other residents are cared for.”
CNN reached out to Florida Power & Light for its reaction to that statement and has not yet heard back.
The nursing home’s statement was the latest in a day of finger pointing among state officials, Florida Power & Light and the nursing home, leading to more questions than answers about how the sweltering conditions persisted for so long.
Jeffrey Nova said he learned of his mother’s death Wednesday morning from a reporter who got his name and contact info from a nursing home employee. Communication with the staff had always been like “pulling teeth,” so it did not strike him as unusual that they had not been returning his calls since Sunday.
Otherwise, he said he never experienced problems with the staff in the eight years his mother, Gail Nova, lived there.
“The staff has never been in any way disrespectful to me or my mom,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “But it was always a challenge to get them to give me any input when there was things that came up with her care.”
One resident died late Tuesday at Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills and was taken directly to a funeral home. Three more were found dead on the second floor of the facility after rescue units were called in. Four more died in hospitals after the sweltering facility was evacuated Wednesday morning in a chaotic blur of events that prompted checks of other nursing homes in the area.
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.
In his latest statement, Carballo attempted to clarify some of the outstanding questions.
“The Center and its medical and administrative staff diligently prepared for the impact of Hurricane Irma. We took part in emergency management preparedness calls with local and state emergency officials, other nursing homes and health regulators,” he said. “In compliance with state regulations, the Center did have a generator on standby in the event it would be needed to power life safety systems. The Center also had seven days of food, water, ice and other supplies, including gas for the generator.”
Temperatures reached the 90’s Tuesday in Hollywood; by Wednesday the heat index was near 100 degrees and low temperatures were in the upper 70’s.
In a statement, Richard Beltran, a spokesman for Florida Power & Light, said: “What we know now is that a portion of the facility did, in fact, have power, that there was a hospital across the parking lot from this facility and that the nursing home was required to have a permanently installed operational generator.”
The utility said it urges facilities with patients dependent on electricity-powered equipment, and who don’t have power, to call 911 if there is a life-threatening situation. To read more go to the link below: