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Florida Senator Calls Nursing Home Deaths Inexcusable

16 September 2017, 01:01 | Pamela Mathis

Residents are evacuated from the powerless Hollywood Hills Nursing Home 1200 N 35th Ave. on Wednesday morning. CAITLIN OSTROFF Miami Herald

Residents are evacuated from the powerless Hollywood Hills Nursing Home 1200 N 35th Ave. on Wednesday morning

Police are investigating the deaths of eight nursing home residents in Hollywood, Florida, where oppressive heat and humidity set in after Hurricane Irma knocked out much of the power in the area.

The evacuation included 115 patients from the nursing home and 18 from a nearby behavioral facility.

Three patients died at the nursing home, and three others died Wednesday morning shortly after being transported to local hospitals.

Trump didn't mention the dead senior citizens and in fact marveled that the US death toll from Irma was "such a small number" as he arrived in Florida to assess the damage.

He added that the patients who have been admitted to the hospital are mostly being treated for "respiratory distress, dehydration and heat-related issues".

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Attempts by Reuters to reach representatives of the for-profit nursing home by phone and email went unanswered.

Florida Power & Light provided electricity to parts of the nursing home but the facility was not on a county top-tier list for emergency power restoration, the utility said. "I don't know what happened inside".

Florida Health Care Association, which represents 81% of Florida's nursing centers - but not the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills - said about 150 facilities out of almost 700 nursing facilities in the state do not have full power services restored.

But Johnson said she never thought her friend would die.

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Paulburn Bogle, a member of the housekeeping staff, said the place had been hot but manageable the past few days.

They show someone using the email address of Jorge Carballo last updated the center's information at 6:51 p.m. Sunday, reporting air conditioning and power were both "operational". "All evidence and records in the control of the center are being preserved".

A spokeswoman for the nursing home said the center "is cooperating with all regulators and authorities as it relates to the ongoing investigation", said Alia Faraj-Johnson.

Most people who die from high body temperature, known as hyperthermia, are over 50, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Hollywood police chief Tom Sanchez said during a news conference that officers and fire crews responded Wednesday morning to a call from the facility about some patients in need of critical care.

"The loss of these individuals is a profound tragedy within the larger tragedy of Hurricane Irma, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of these residents", Knapp said. Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said government officials had requested that power companies prioritise senior citizen communities before the hurricane hit.

"What do I know, but I hope this man right here, Rick Scott, runs for the Senate", Trump said in Fort Myers. "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.

The nursing home has faced several safety violations and citations in recent years, including two for not following generator regulations in 2014 and 2016, according to CNN.

Residents struggling to put their lives back together have fallen victim to new hazards, including oppressive heat, brush-clearing accidents, house fires and deadly fumes from generators.



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