Published: Sat, September 16, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Complaint seeks to preserve video, photos from nursing home where 8 died

Complaint seeks to preserve video, photos from nursing home where 8 died

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said three of the victims were found dead at the nursing home and two others died at a hospital.

The nursing home deaths brought the total number of storm-related fatalities in Florida to 20 and illustrated the urgency of restoring electricity to millions of people across the southern state.

The database appears to show the next update from the facility was not until 4:30 p.m. Tuesday - leaving a almost 46-hour gap in the updates, as reflected in the database.

Key details of the Hollywood Hills incident remain unknown, even after officials delivered an update Thursday morning. Although the deaths of those will come under Hurricane Irma's devastating effect, still many people believe that the unfortunate incidence could have been avoided.

At Thursday's news conference, medical workers from an adjacent hospital who assisted in evacuating the center on Wednesday recounted a scene of chaos and stifling conditions as panicky staff scrambled to move overheated patients into a room where fans were blowing.

"It was not a member of the Florida Health Care Association", said Kristen Knapp, with Florida Healthcare Association.

She questioned whether short staffing and fatigue on the part of overworked personnel may have factored in the crisis. "What we have been generally treating is dehydration, severe respiratory conditions and heat exhaustion". Word is that Hollywood Hills had only partial generator service, not one to run the building's air conditioning. "Right now I just want to figure this out", he said.

Also subject of the petition: reports and documents specifically concerning Vega - who, at 99, was the oldest of the eight residents to die.

Some 4.3 million homes and businesses were still without power on Wednesday in Florida and neighboring states, down from 7.4 million customers on Monday, according to Reuters.

While some nursing homes reported difficulty reporting their status either by phone or on a web-based application used by state health officials, an AHCA spokeswoman said Thursday evening "at no time did Florida Health STAT, the state's reporting system have a breakdown". Hurricane Katrina was followed by harrowing tales from St. Rita's nursing home, where dozens died.

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The governor announced in a news release Wednesday night that he's directed the Agency for Health Care Administration to issue an emergency moratorium for the facility, preventing it from admitting new patients indefinitely.

"We don't know", said Franco. "It points to the need for having plans in advance when it comes to emergency preparation".

The Rehabilitation Center said the hurricane knocked out a transformer that powered the air conditioning.

Most people said the nursing home was unbearably hot. "We cared for them like family". The company met with officials in Broward County in early March, he said.

Harvey and Irma have underscored the importance of protecting people who live in nursing facilities.

Still, the dangers lingered, mostly in the form of noxious gas from generators serving those who still didn't have power.

Relatives who have family members in the facility have started to gather outside the two-story gray building that is situated among a cluster of medical facilities and hospitals.

Eighty-four-year-old Hibberd took her last breath, Wednesday afternoon. "I just don't understand it", she said.

Florida officials including Governor Rick Scott and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio greeted Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Fort Myers, Florida.

-Melanie Evans contributed to this article.

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