Irma: Six die at Florida nursing home not on utility's priority list

Nick Sanchez
September 17, 2017

Six patients at a Florida nursing home have died after spending days without air conditioning following Hurricane Irma.

An initial news release from the city of Hollywood said that three patients were found dead in the facility early Wednesday, while others were taken to the hospital and pronounced dead there. In Coral Gables, an apartment building was evacuated after authorities said its lack of power made it unsafe for elderly tenants.

Katz said most of the patients admitted to the hospital have been treated for respiratory distress, dehydration and heat-related issues.

"It's a sad state of affairs", the police chief said.

The Hollywood center where the deaths occurred had earned a "below average" mark of two out of five stars from the nursing home rating system for Medicare, the US health insurance program for the elderly and disabled, Medicare records showed. The facility itself has power, the individual said.

"Like many places in South Florida, the nursing home has been without power since being blasted by tropical storm winds with hurricane gusts on the edge of Hurricane Irma".

In Florida, nursing homes are complying with licensing regulations as long as they have alternate forms of power, said Kristen Knapp, spokeswoman for the Florida Health Care Association.

In Miami-Dade County, almost 442,000 customers had outages out of 1.1 million customers in total, according to Florida Power & Light. An official from Memorial said that the healthcare network was helping with evacuating people from the rehabilitation center, which is not part of the Memorial system, and will take some to their other hospitals in the region.

In addition to severe flooding across Florida and extensive property damage in the Keys, residents faced widespread power outages that initially plunged more than half the state into darkness.

Three people were dead when authorities arrived at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, Tomas Sanchez, police chief in Hollywood, Fla., told reporters Wednesday.

Florida Governor Rick Scott also ordered emergency workers to check on nursing homes and assisted living facilities to ensure residents are safe. "Our investigation has revealed its extremely hot on the second floor of the facility".

Broward County officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gail Matillo, president and CEO of the assisted living industry group Florida Argentum, said Wednesday that most of those facilities had their power restored.

"I don't know that there is a ideal way", she said.

Total insured losses from the storm are expected to run about $25 billion, including $18 billion in the United States and $7 billion in the Caribbean, catastrophe modeler Karen Clark & Company estimated on Wednesday. The risks rise in a state like Florida, which has the highest proportion of people 65 and older of any state, one in five of its residents.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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