6 dead at Florida nursing home without AC after Irma, others evacuated

6 dead at Florida nursing home without AC after Irma, others evacuated

A day after eight people died at a nursing home in the post-hurricane heat, Florida senior citizens were ushered out of stifling assisted-living centers while caregivers fought a lack of air conditioning with popsicles and cool compresses.

Eight patients at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died Wednesday after a power failure caused by Hurricane Irma took out the facility's air conditioning.

Addressing a group of rescue workers and officials assembled in an airport hangar, he paid special tribute to first responders and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Jeffrey Nova said he learned of his mother's death Wednesday morning from a reporter who got his name and contact info from a nursing home employee.

The home said in a statement that the hurricane had knocked out a transformer that powered the AC.

"The interesting thing about Irma is it was such a widespread storm, it really impacted most of Florida", Clark said.

"We are managing 115 patients throughout the Memorial hospitals", Memorial Healthcare System spokesperson Kerting Baldwin said Wednesday.

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

"Our centers' first priority is always the safety and well-being of every resident in their care and they are doing everything in their power to meet their immediate and ongoing needs", wrote the association's executive director, Kristen Knapp.

Four more patients died at or en route to a nearby hospital and a fifth was later identified as having died the night before.

The deaths in Florida will also loom large in the minds of Americans considering nursing home care for themselves or relatives for years to come.

Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide calculated the value of exposed property along Florida's Gulf Coast up to Tampa at a whopping $1 trillion, while an early estimate based on last week's prediction of an easterly track for Irma from real estate analytics firm CoreLogic said as many as 8.5 million homes and businesses were at risk of sustaining wind damage from the storm. The death toll across the Caribbean stood at 38.

Three of the deaths happened at the facility and two others happened as the patients arrived at the hospital, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said at a news conference Wednesday. Victims were suffering from respiratory distress, dehydration and other heat-related injuries. County officials released documents showing that the Hollywood facility was in compliance with that regulation and that it held a hurricane drill with its staff in October. Many communities are still cleaning up or without power or air conditioning.

While a nursing home has been at that location almost 50 years, the Rehabilitation Center's name and registration are only two years old. Hollywood Hills' operators will likely face lawsuits associated with all of the residents who died or sustained injuries after Hurricane Irma, as well as government fines and penalties depending on the eventual findings of fault, Martinez says. But the most recent state inspection reports showed no deficiencies in the area of emergency plans.

Florida House of Representatives Speaker Richard Corcoran says the Legislature could call a special session if needed to tackle storm-related issues.

While Clark's company estimated that a wind-driven direct hit on Miami would have served up catastrophic $150 million in insured losses, the storm veering off the the west saved Southeast Florida from the most apocalyptic scenario, but this came at the extent of huge devastation in the Keys as well as unexpected flooding in places like Jacksonville along the Atlantic coast, where a combination of heavy rain and storm surge filled homes and businesses that had only just begun to recover from last year's Hurricane Matthew.

Shortly thereafter: A third 911 call came in for yet another patient transport - this time prompting the fire department to send more crews to the nursing home to investigate. Utility officials warned it could take 10 days or more for power to be fully restored. The number of people in shelters fell to under 13,000. "Our staff continually checked on our residents' well-being-our most important concern-to ensure they were hydrated and as comfortable as possible".

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