March 23, 2018

Trump to visit hurricane-ravaged Florida

17 September 2017, 02:27 | Taylor George

Trump to visit hurricane-ravaged Florida

Police officers plow through floodwater on Hendricks Avenue in San Marco as Hurricane Irma passes by Monday Sept. 11 2017 in Jacksonville Fla

Eight residents of the nursing home, which is affiliated with the Larkin Community Hospital, died this week after the facility's air conditioning system failed in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Trump said restoring electricity in Florida was a priority following the storm, which left at least 20 people dead in the southern USA state, including the eight retirement home residents in Hollywood, north of Miami.

Gov. Rick Scott said he had directed the state's health care administration and Department of Children in Families to open an investigation into the deaths.

A criminal investigation was underway, Hollywood police said.

"The suspicion is that these deaths should not have occurred", NPR's Jon Hamilton reported from the scene Wednesday.

President Trump flies aboard the Marine One helicopter over storm damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Irma near Fort Myers, Florida.

The Hollywood Police and Hollywood Fire Rescue received a call around 4 the facility, and found "several patients in varying degrees of medical distress", city officials said.

Like many places in South Florida, the nursing home has been without power since being battered by tropical storm winds and hurricane gusts on the edge of Hurricane Irma. But it also is contradicted by law enforcement and state officials on key points, including how aggressively the nursing home had sought assistance and precisely when staffers called 911 as a patient went into cardiac arrest.

Police evacuated 115 residents on Wednesday from the facility, whose air conditioning was cut by the storm.

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The crews will travel to communities and work until residences and businesses in those areas are hooked back up to the power grid. More than 118,500 customers had been restored by Friday morning - 19 percent of its service - but 33,000 were still out of power.

City officials say three people were already dead inside, and others were pronounced dead later.

But it was not until multiple patients began experiencing health emergencies, which promoted the evacuation of the center, that the utility company arrived to make the fix, the nursing home said.

Detailing the problems identified this week by the Agency for Health Care Administration, member station WLRN reports, "In its complaint, the healthcare agency said that on September 10 the rehab center 'became aware that its air conditioning equipment had ceased to operate effectively.'".

Police were checking on more than 40 other nursing facilities in Hollywood, Kate Stein of member station WLRN tells NPR's Newscast unit. So far, eight deaths have been confirmed, including the person who had apparently died before someone first called firefighters to the nursing home.

The federal government's website rates and provides basic information about nursing homes across the country.

Trump never made clear if he knew how many lives had been lost in Irma, and he said nothing else recognizing the victims.

While Southeast Texas took the brunt of Harvey's wrath, Hurricane Irma's destruction was more widespread, causing damage in the Caribbean and across the Florida peninsula.

FPL said after meeting with Broward officials back in March, the center was not identified as a top critical facility that requited priority power restoration.

A kitchen worker, Jean Lindor, told the Miami Herald the center had power from a generator to cook - but no air conditioning.

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