New Video Shows Conditions Inside Nursing Home Without A/C Where 8 Died
by Angelina Gibson
Hollywood, FL: Video shows the shocking conditions of Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills - 53 hours after losing power and air conditioning - where 8 elderly residents died. Three of the patients passed away while still at the facility and the remaining five were taken to a nearby hospital - where they, too, perished.
Healthcare workers at the facility say they had been struggling since Sunday to keep residents cool since losing power. The 8 spot coolers sent by the state were not enough to sustain comfortable temperatures for the hundreds of residents.
The video taken by a resident’s daughter shows the deplorable conditions of the facility. Residents are seen lying in sweltering heat, one woman is naked and the windows are barely cracked.
The woman who captured the video on her cell-phone camera had gone to the facility to check on her 89-year old father, Gabriel Giraldo, who suffers from dementia. She found him - dehydrated and running a fever. As seen in the video, patients were mostly lying in bed wearing their patient gowns.
An elderly woman is caught on camera, naked and slumped over a gurney - she’s presumed to be unconscious or sleeping. This woman has not yet been identified.
Amy Beth Bennet/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP
Who Is To Blame?
A criminal-homicide investigation is underway and a lawsuit by one of the families of the deceased has been issued. The nursing home has been closed down.
Governor Rick Scott has directed the Agency for Healthcare Administration to terminate the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills as a Medicaid Provider.
In a statement released on Friday by Gov. Rick Scott’s Office, it was revealed that the facility did not report the dangerous conditions to the state, "At no time did the facility report that conditions had become dangerous or that the health and safety of their patients were at risk," it continues, "In fact, on Monday, September 11, Department of Health staff advised this facility to call 911 if they had any reason to believe that their patients were not safe."
Furthermore, in an email released by the Governor’s Communication Director, John Tubbs, it was revealed that “Every call made to the Governor from facility management was referred to the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Health and quickly returned.”
On Saturday, Gov. Rick Scott announced that going forward nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in the state will be required to have generators capable of maintaining comfortable temperatures for at least 96 hours in the event of a power loss.
Nursing Home Defends Actions
However, the Rehabilitation Center disagrees with the Governor’s statements and stands by their decision - they are adamant that they followed the appropriate procedures. According to an Executive of the facility, Natasha Anderson, the facility had reduced the heat and shuttered the windows in preparation for the hurricane. Soon after the hurricane hit, the chiller began releasing warm-muggy air into the facility.
The next day as conditions became unbearable for the residents, Anderson called a private cell-phone number that was given to nursing homes by the state. “Repeatedly, I was told that our case was being escalated to the highest level,” Anderson said.
According to Anderson, no help ever came. While there was a hospital just across the road, nursing-home officials did not deem the situation severe enough to evacuate patients.
The truth will come out in the investigation.