February 18, 2018

Vulnerable Florida residents a concern in Hurricane Irma aftermath

17 September 2017, 02:23 | Taylor George

CNN Jeffrey Nova

Authorities seek answers after Florida nursing home deaths

Around the state, 64 nursing homes were still waiting for full power Friday, a number that had dropped almost 20 from the previous day, according to the Florida Health Care Association.

The firm is representing the family of Albertina Vega, 99, who was discovered dead at the facility by staff.

Elsewhere in South Florida, other alarms were sounded for older residents. And at the 15,000-resident Century Village retirement community in Pembroke Pines, where there were also widespread outages, rescue workers went door to door to check on residents and bring ice, water and meals.

He called the impacts a "real disaster" and said there's "much work do" but that Florida "will be rebuilt and will come back even better than before".

As recovery continues, President Donald Trump was due to visit Naples in southwestern Florida on Thursday.

Including the nursing home deaths, at least 25 people in Florida have died under Irma-related circumstances, and six more in SC and Georgia, many of them well after the storm had passed.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Thursday that more than 38,000 federal personnel are now working to respond to Hurricane Irma, including staff from the military and civilian agencies.

The risk was illustrated Thursday at a nursing home in Hollywood, where eight residents died after their air conditioning stopped working.

By the afternoon, five more had died.

Facing a situation that was out of control, doctors and fire officials ultimately made a decision to transfer all the patients to the hospital, where dozens were treated for respiratory distress, dehydration and heat exhaustion, officials said.

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Eight dead at Florida nursing home after Irma
Ellie Pina visited her mother at the nursing home days before residents were evacuated by emergency crews on Wednesday. The power went out due to Hurricane Irma and the heat was so unbearable the fragile elderly people were baking inside.

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A spokeswoman for the nursing home said the center "is cooperating with all regulators and authorities as it relates to the ongoing investigation", said Alia Faraj-Johnson.

A Henderson County man succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning while using a generator, officials said. They are also more likely to take medication that affects body temperature.

Craig, whose mother was sickened at the nursing home, said the centre's administrators should "be prosecuted to the full extent that the law allows and then some".

"The initial investigation has determined that the facility's air conditioning system was not fully functional", the city of Hollywood, Florida, said in a statement.

"People are telling me different things", she said Wednesday evening.

Scott said in a statement earlier this week that he was "heartbroken" to learn of the deaths and planned to "aggressively demand answers".

Scott on Thursday directed the Agency for Health Care Administration to issue an emergency moratorium to prevent the facility in question from housing any patients. All residents have since been evacuated. County officials released documents showing that the Hollywood facility was in compliance with that regulation and that it held a hurricane drill with its staff in October.

The president is traveling to the hurricane-stricken state Thursday to meet with those affected by the storm and learn more about relief efforts.

The presidential visit to Florida comes a day after at least eight patients died in a sweltering nursing home in Hollywood, Fla., that was left with limited power after Irma pounded the region. "People thought thousands and thousands of people may have their lives ended and the number is a very small number, which is a great tribute to you".

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