Heads will roll in the developing and tragic nursing home story out of Hollywood Hills, Florida, where eight residents of the assisted living facility died from heat exposure in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Who is to blame?
Police have already launched a criminal investigation as to who is responsible for the deaths.
For what ever reason, Florida Power & Light did not have the nursing home listed as “critical” regarding the restoration of power during an outage such as the one caused by the storm.
The facility said that they reported the outage to FPL and the county, but those calls for action fell on deaf ears, at least for a few days. Power was eventually restored, but not the air conditioning system.
Employees of the home tried to keep residents cool, but appear to have failed to see the gravity of the situation. After three rescue calls were made, first responders realized what they were facing.
It was already too late, as paramedics arrived to find 3 dead.
Rescue workers were able to relocate 158 patients of the two-story facility Memorial Regional Hospital, but again, it was too late.
FL Gov. Scott on death of multiple people at nursing home in Broward County: “I am demanding answers…this situation is unfathomable.” pic.twitter.com/lN2gmdvbfP
— ABC News (@ABC) September 13, 2017
Even with the tragic loss of life, FPL contends that there are too many nursing homes throughout the county to be able to expedite power to, this according to Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief.
FPL spokesman Ron Gould said nursing homes are not defined as critical facilities in the plan the county gives FPL for restoring power — meaning they are not the first to have power restored.
“We met with Broward in early March. This facility was not listed as a top-tier critical infrastructure facility,” he said.
Regulators do not require nursing homes like Hollywood Hills to have generators. In Florida, nursing homes can comply with licensing regulations as long as they have “alternate forms of power,” said Kristen Knapp, spokeswoman for the Florida Health Care Association. That could include battery-operated fans, she said.
New federal nursing home regulations that will go into effect in November mandate, among other things, that safe indoor temperatures be maintained during power outages. But the rules — which come 12 years after 35 elderly people died in a New Orleans-area nursing home during Hurricane Katrina — also fail to specifically require generators.”-Sun-Sentinel
It appears that everyone is to blame-the nursing home, FPL, and the county government.