Florida Nursing Home, Under Investigation
Florida nursing home, is under investigation by federal, state and local authorities. The agencies have opened a criminal investigation after six nursing home residents died of apparent head-related issues. This resulted after the home lost air conditioning during the power outage triggered by Hurricane Irma.
Police received a 911 call about a heart attack at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. Emergency teams immediately went to the Florida nursing home early this morning. Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sanchez said 115 people were evacuated, some in critical condition. Three elderly were found dead at the scene. Two others were pronounced dead at a hospital. One died during the evacuation.
Medical director of Hollywood Memorial Hospital’s emergency department, Randy Katz, said he found a chaotic scene when he first entered the facility. The nursing home is directly across the street from the hospital. He said, “When we were called to help, we mobilized at least 50 to 100 of our employees. They left the hospital, ran down the street and pulled all of these patients out of the facility and made sure that they got to a safe place.”
Katz said that most of the patients were being treated for respiratory distress, dehydration, and other heat-related issues. Approximately one dozen nursing home patients remained in the emergency ward.
The police chief said investigators are focusing on the second floor of the nursing home. He said it was “extremely hot” when officers arrived. He said, “We’re examining all possibilities. Sanchez said they are determining exactly when the power went out and whether an on-site generator was used after losing power. Some windows were closed when officers arrived, and they were trying to figure out whether that was an oversight or the windows were unable to open. In recent years, the facility had been cited by Florida Agency for Health Care Administration for problems with temporary generators.
The nursing center’s administrator, Jorge Carballo, said the home “is cooperating fully with relevant authorities to investigate the circumstances that led to this unfortunate and tragic outcome. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were affected.”