A ninth resident has died as a result of injuries suffered in the Hollywood, Florida, nursing home that lost its air conditioning for days after Hurricane Irma ripped through the state. The 93-year-old man was evacuated last week with the other residents of Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills after authorities discovered three patients had died in the facility, where temperatures had risen to dangerous levels. By that afternoon, five more patients had died and dozens more were treated for dehydration, breathing difficulties and other heat-related symptoms.
The dead ranged in age from 71 to 99, and all appeared to have succumbed to heat-related issues. The nursing home is currently under investigation, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott has ordered that all long-term care facilities in the state obtain “ample resources” to “sustain operations and maintain comfortable temperatures” for a minimum of four days in the event of a power failure. The ample resources refer to a generator and fuel to keep the system operating.
The nursing home was located across the street from a hospital whose facility was operating with sufficient air conditioning. Power has since been restored to the Rehabilitation Center, though the facility is barred from caring for residents until an investigation is completed.
The family of at least one woman has filed a lawsuit against the nursing home, and other families told CBS Miami that they plan on suing the nursing home as well as Florida Power & Light (FPL). The nursing home claims it contacted FPL more than 50 times during the storm. The home also claims to have called Gov. Scott 36 hours before the first death was reported. Scott’s office told CBS Miami that all calls were returned in a timely fashion and that staff was referred to the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Health.