Many people lost their homes or their lives during the powerful Hurricane Irma in Florida. Of all the tragedies that occurred during and after the storm, one of the most horrible is what happened in a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, where 14 people died.
Worst of all is that it appears that some or all of the deaths could have been prevented. While the forces of nature created the initial problem, human error or neglect appear to have played a major role in prolonging it.
Residents Not Evacuated
On September 10, 2017, during the hurricane, a falling tree destroyed the nursing home’s air conditioning system. Without air conditioning, the residents suffered in the intense heat. Even though overheated conditions are clearly dangerous for elderly people, the nursing home failed to evacuate the residents for several days.
The results were horrific. By September 13, eight of the residents had died. On that day, the rest of the residents were finally evacuated, but for some it was too late. By October 10, six more former residents were dead, bringing the death toll to 14. Most of the fatalities were people over 70 years old, with the oldest being 99.
The City of Hollywood, where the nursing home was located, is conducting a criminal investigation. The Governor’s office issued a report which said that state workers repeatedly told nursing home managers to call 911 if the residents were in danger. The managers, for whatever reason, did not do so.
Tragically, there was a large hospital right across the street from the nursing home. The residents could have been taken there, if the nursing home had decided to evacuate them. Why they failed to do so is still being investigated.
Some of the grief-stricken families have filed lawsuits.
Nursing Home Closed
On September 20, ten days after the storm and one week after the residents were finally evacuated, the nursing home shut down, laying off 245 employees.
Nursing Home Abuse
While this is one of the most horrible examples of nursing home abuse in recent history, abuses are, unfortunately, common. If you have a loved one who you suspect is being abused, please reach out for help. Call the law offices of Garcia & Artigliere at 1-800-281-8515 to set up a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with an experienced nursing home negligence lawyer.