Shocking details are being released from officials in Hollywood, Florida, which became the scene of national scrutiny this morning as local reports reveal at least eight elderly patients of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills nursing facility are confirmed dead.
The bodies were discovered by local police and emergency officials responding to calls for help from within the facility, one news report suggests. Upon arrival, officials found the facility to be completely without power, knocked offline due to the impacts of Hurricane Irma, and the interior rooms to be extremely hot as a result of a lack of air conditioning.
It is unknown how long the building has been without power, but crews jumped into immediate action by evacuating 115 elderly patients from the facility, delivering the residents en masse to local hospitals around the area.
The identities of the deceased have been released:
- Bobby Owens – 84 years old
- Manuel Mario Medieta – 96 years old
- Miguel Antonio Franco – 92 years old
- Estella Hendricks – 71 years old
- Gail Nova – 71 years old
- Carolyn Eatherly – 84 years old
- Betty Hibbard – 84 years old
- Albertina Vega – 99 years old
Anyone who knows a resident at the Rehabilitation Center are urged to call Memorial Healthcare, where evacuees have been temporarily relocated, at 954-265-3000 to check on the status of any resident.
Why wasn’t the facility evacuated? Could this tragedy have been avoided?
In the wake of the shocking revelations, family members who have loved ones at the facility should be asking: Why wasn’t the facility evacuated in the threat or wake of Hurricane Irma?
And the bigger questions for investigators and the lawyers who represent the families of residents should be whether all safety precautions were thoroughly and completely adhered to, knowing the devastating impact Hurricane Irma was projected to inflict days ahead of impact.
The scene at the nursing facility was locked down by state and local authorities, as ACHA and the Florida Justice Department work in tandem to evaluate the situation. A criminal investigation is expected.
There is evidence of several health code violations cited by the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) since at least 2016 related to the home’s inability to keep its emergency power generators serviced and operational. These violations are published by the agency on the Medicare.gov website.
Prior health code violations support a history of poor care at the Rehab Center
According to state records, in the periods between December 2014 and March 2017, three complaint-driven inspections of the facilities revealed 32 total health deficiencies, including issues involving the proper preparation and storage of food, providing adequate housekeeping and maintenance services, and proper disposal of garbage and refuse.
So far as the Hurricane Irma tragedy is concerned, if there was a safety or evacuation plan in place, and it was either not followed or ignored, the potential for a substantial personal injury liability lawsuit is possible.
The for-profit owners of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills nursing facility may be held liable for negligence concerning their eight deceased residents, and possible dozens more who may have suffered unnecessarily.
Families who have had loved ones admitted to this facility in Hollywood, Florida may want to consider hiring a personal injury law firm with experience handling complex nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Our law firm is available for a free consultation for any concerned family of a resident at the Rehabilitation Center or any other nursing home or ALF facility where criminal acts or negligence may be suspected.