Six dead after Irma knocks out air conditioning at Florida nursing home

Danny Woods
September 17, 2017

Five people have died at a Florida nursing home which has been without power since Hurricane Irma, local television reported on Wednesday.

Hollywood Fire Rescue and police said 115 patients at the nursing home were evacuated safely. "So we made a decision to come here, at least there's air conditioning". Officials also contacted the power provider, the state said. The Associated Press reported that before the deaths at the Hollywood nursing home, Irma was blamed for a combined 19 fatalities in Florida, Georgia and SC. "Every facility that is charged with caring for patients must take every action and precaution to keep their patients safe - especially patients that are in poor health".

In the battered Florida Keys, meanwhile, county officials pushed back against a preliminary estimate from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that 25 percent of all homes in the Keys were destroyed and almost all the rest were heavily damaged.

Of Florida's total 309 hospitals, all operational facilities have power or are running on generator power.

Anthony Gallagher of Georgia said staff at the Preserve of Palm Aire assisted living facility in Pompano Beach called Tuesday night to say his 94-year-old father-in-law, who had dementia, was hot and confused and needed another place to stay.

"Based on observation and interview, it was determined that the facility failed to handle, store, process, and transport linens so as to prevent the spread of infection", one part of the report said.

Heat is a top killer after hurricanes and disasters cause power outages, said Dr. Thomas Kirsch, director of the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health.

But on some other quality indicators, the nursing home was below average. But just hours after the first call, responders who had arrived to fully evacuate the nursing home found the situation was far worse than the 911 calls had indicated.

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"It's a sad state of affairs", the police chief said. AHCA said the facility has an occupancy rate of 93 percent.

Authorities in Hollywood, Florida have launched a criminal investigation to determine the exact cause of the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. Bill Nelson asked the secretary of Health and Human Services to investigate what happened.

Knapp called the Hollywood Hills death "a tragedy".

Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said temperatures have climbed to over 90 degrees in the city and that half of Hollywood is without power.

"In the days prior to the storm and through today, we have been in regular communication with our facilities to help coordinate needs and ensure proper implementation of the emergency management plans each facility is required to have", the statement from the association said.

Officials remain on the scene as the investigation continues.

In Hollywood, the Rehabilitation Center said the hurricane had knocked out a transformer that powered the air conditioning.

Trump will visit Fort Myers in southwest Florida, an area hard hit by the storm, for a briefing on Hurricane Irma. Florida Power & Light estimates it will restore power to all of its customers in South Florida by the weekend.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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