Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Death of 8 at Florida nursing home sounds alarms after Irma

Death of 8 at Florida nursing home sounds alarms after Irma

Police, assisted in their investigation by state and federal regulators, have said little about circumstances leading to the deaths of the patients ranging in age from 71 to 99.

Though the number of people with electricity had improved from earlier in the week, some 6.8 million people across the peninsula continued to wait for power, and utility officials warned it could take a week or more for all areas to be back up and running.

Detailing the problems identified this week by the Agency for Health Care Administration, member station WLRN reports, "In its complaint, the healthcare agency said that on September 10 the rehab center 'became aware that its air conditioning equipment had ceased to operate effectively.'". "She opened her mom's windows, and she said, 'Mom, it's going to be OK'". One resident died at the facility Tuesday but, because the patient had a do-not-resuscitate order, was sent to a funeral home before police asked for the body, according to police.

In Hollywood, the Rehabilitation Center said the hurricane had knocked out a transformer that powered the air conditioning. Also, information released by the state said 44 nursing homes were evacuated or closed.

This requires all assisted living facilities and nursing homes to obtain ample resources, including generators and the appropriate amount of fuel to maintain comfortable temperatures for at least 96-hours following a power outage.

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The Florida Health Care Association depicted those unfortunate deaths as a "profound tragedy within the larger tragedy of Hurricane Irma".

Nursing homes in Florida are required by law to file an emergency plan that includes evacuation plans for residents.

"We love the people of Florida", he said, pledging that he would be back to monitor recovery progress. "Portable A/C units were being used in the facility, but the facility was excessively hot". The power generator was working, and the staff stocked up on seven days' worth of food and water.

Gov. Rick Scott ordered an emergency moratorium on Wednesday to prevent the facility from admitting new patients.

Officials acknowledged many of those questions at Thursday's briefing, but they also said they're still working on definitive answers.

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"I never even knew a Category 5 existed", the president told reporters at the White House Thursday, at a reception following his return from Florida where at least 26 people have been killed by the massive storm, according to the Miami Herald.

Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills left messages on the cellphone that were referred to two other agencies, the governor's office said. Both of her parents are still being treated after the ordeal, but she said she does not know which facility she will place them in when they are discharged soon. "There are not as many beds and facilities available as there are people with needs". "Not just my Betty but all the people", said Jean Johnson, who was friends with Betty Hibbard, one of the eight victims, for more than 60 years.

"We went by to see her the day before she passed away", Johnson told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Thursday.

"She was sitting in front of a blower, and she nearly cried", Johnson said of Hibbard. "When we approach her she wasn't really crying but tears were kind of coming, she says 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe Jean, '" Johnson said.

Johnson said the nursing home didn't have any ice to give her friend, who was ignored by the staff.

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