Irma and the Florida Nursing Home disaster- 11 dead

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2017 | Elder Law

Before you put a loved one in a nursing home learn as much as you can about the facility. Among the nursing homes of South Florida, Hollywood Hills was not highly regarded. The 152-bed residence had a “below average” rating from Medicare, with two out of five stars. Its most recent health inspection, from March, described residents who were not bathed or groomed properly, food that went uncovered in a soiled kitchen, and flaws in the in-room patient call system.

Its owners, who acquired Hollywood Hills in 2015, were among defendants who paid $15.4 million in 2006 to settle federal and state civil claims that they had paid kickbacks to doctors in exchange for patient admissions.

But the home was right next to the hospital and offered round-the-clock nursing care, two important factors for families choosing a home. The facility did not have a backup generator that was capable of supplying enough energy to the air conditioner to operate it. Disaster in storm and a failure to move the partients accross the street to the hospital. 

The emergency room workers at Memorial Regional Hospital rushed the first patient to Room 9, which was devoted to the hope and practice of arresting death. They threaded fluid lines into her veins and readied a breathing tube. Even through gloves, they could feel the heat corseting the 84-year-old woman’s body.

As they prepared to insert a catheter, they saw what looked like steam rising from her legs.

The numbers from the catheter’s temperature gauge would not stop climbing. The nurses, respiratory technicians and other medical staff watched it halt at last at 41.9 degrees Celsius – 107 degrees Fahrenheit.

Eight residents of the nursing home were dead by the end of that day, Sept. 13, and three who were among the 140 evacuated have died since. The Hollywood police have opened a criminal investigation, while the state has all but shut down the residence.

That morning – three days after Irma, a few hours after Ms. Hibbard died and soon after everyone else was evacuated – someone from the power company arrived at Hollywood Hills to fix the transformer. It took 15 minutes to get the air-conditioning back on. 

Read more about in the New York Times 


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