Nursing Home Faces Lawsuits After Irma Deaths
Hurricane Irma caused a state of chaos as it rapidly approached Florida. While many evacuated, some were unable to do so, including residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, a nursing home in Hollywood, FL. The nursing home lost power and the residents did not receive proper medical care, leading to the death of 14 patients. The nursing home now faces lawsuits because of the negligence exhibited toward their patients.
Failure During Hurricane Irma
During the storm, residents in the nursing home did not receive medical care because their caretakers – trained medical professionals – delayed calling 911. In fact, the first call from the facility to 911 did not come until two days after Irma struck. The patients required care because the rehabilitation center lost air conditioning during the storm, and did not have a contingency plan in place. Elderly patients require medications and are in a very stable state of health. The lack of air conditioning caused patients to later be hospitalized with body temperatures of 109.9, 108.5, 108.3, and 107 degrees.
The state of Florida has suspended the nursing home’s license; the nursing home has filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida attempting to block this. The state has also placed the home under criminal investigation. The facility fired 245 workers in the aftermath of the tragedy. Governor Rick Scott release a statement saying,
“I am absolutely heartbroken to learn of news reports of the deaths of multiple individuals in a nursing home in Broward County. Protecting the lives of Floridians is my top priority and that’s why we have worked all week to help Floridians prepare and respond to Hurricane Irma. I am going to aggressively demand answers on how this tragic event took place. Although the details of these reported deaths are still under investigation, this situation is unfathomable. Every facility that is charged with caring for patients must take every action and precaution to keep their patients safe – especially patients that are in poor health. I have directed the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Children and Families to immediately work with local law enforcement to conduct an investigation….”
Lawsuits Filed Against The Nursing Home
The first lawsuit was filed just a few weeks after the tragedy. The plaintiff is former resident Lillian Fuller, who claims that “the staff and employees failed to develop a proper care plan and properly monitor and supervise the care and treatment provided to (her) in order to prevent her from suffering the development and deterioration of infections and sepsis and suffering the development and deterioration of dehydration.”
Just within the past week, the 13th and 14th victims passed away, nearly a month after the storm made landfall. It’s reasonable to believe that as more individuals succumb to their injuries, or long-term injuries are revealed as time passes, more lawsuits will be filed against the nursing home. Deservedly so, as members of the home and their families deserve compensation after such gross negligence was committed by those they trusted with their lives.