As Florida and surrounding islands attempt to begin the recovery process after Hurricane Irma absolutely ravaged through, the unfortunate death toll due to the storm continues to rise. The latest reported casualties come from a Florida nursing home where eight residents died as the result of a power outage.
Hurricane Irma may be over, but it’s impact will be felt for quite a while. As residents return to homes, power is restored and homes are repaired, there were also unfortunate fatalities because of the storm. As reported by CNN, earlier this week it was revealed that when Hurricane Irma caused a power outage at a Florida nursing home, it caused eight residents to die from heat-related issues when the air-conditioning went out.
The staff at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills scrambled to keep residents hydrated and cool after a tree fell down onto a transformer that powered the air conditioning system. But earlier this week, eight of the nursing home’s residents had died. Six died from heat-related issues; the causes of the other two deaths are under investigation.
“The initial investigation has determined that the facility’s air conditioning system was not fully functional,” the city of Hollywood, Florida, said in a statement. “Portable A/C units were being used in the facility, but the facility was excessively hot.”
The nursing home said it was prepped for Hurricane Irma. The power generator was working, and the staff stocked up on seven days’ worth of food and water. But they didn’t anticipate they would still have to fight the intense heat with fans and portable air conditioner units.
Meanwhile The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills released a statement about the unfortunate deaths:
“The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills expresses its deepest sympathy to the family members of the residents who passed away following a prolonged outage of our air conditioning system due to Hurricane Irma. We are devastated by these losses. We are fully cooperating with all authorities and regulators to assess what went wrong and to ensure our other residents are cared for.”
As expected, the outrage over how something so tragic happened under the watch and care of staff members has prompted at least three agencies to launch investigations into how the incident occured. Florida Governor Rick Scott also commented on the nursing home fatalities, saying “I am going to aggressively demand answers on how this tragic event took place. If they find that this facility was not meeting the state’s high standards of care, they will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
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