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17 September 2017, 06:34 | Opal Carroll
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Eight Hollywood nursing home residents died Wednesday morning in a building left without air conditioning after Irma roared through South Florida, according to Hollywood police and the city.
"The building has been sealed off and we are conducting a criminal investigation inside", Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sancheztold reporters on Wednesday.
Besides the nursing home deaths, at least 14 deaths in Florida have been tied to the storm and its aftermath, with six more in SC and Georgia.
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.'".
The home said in a statement that the hurricane had knocked out a transformer that powered the AC.
The five women and three men ranged in age from the 70s to 99. Authorities have not ruled anything out, including carbon monoxide poisoning from generators.
Tuesday afternoon, the center reported to AHCA that it had power and access to fans and spot coolers provided by Memorial Healthcare - Memorial Regional Hospital sits across the street. Prosecutors say that after he bought the hospital in 1998, Michel and others fraudulently increased the number of patients at the facility, along with their Medicare and Medicaid revenues, by bringing in patients from nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
During Hurricane Sandy our company is proud that we survived the month long storm and its after effects through providing support, resources, and operational management of our care centers which resulted in the safe health care of thousands of NJ seniors and their families that we are responsible for. The death toll across the Caribbean stood at 38.
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Three patients died at the nursing home, and three others died Wednesday morning shortly after being transported to local hospitals. The Miami Herald also reported that the center has a "much below average" health rating and a "below average" overall rating, which combines assessments from staff, fire safety, and health inspections.
Older people can be more susceptible to heat because their bodies do not adjust to temperatures as well as those of younger people.
With millions of people in Florida still lacking power, officials are urging those who need a break from the heat to visit cooling centers and drink water.
How hot did it get inside the nursing home? More than 21,000 people remain in shelters across the state.
The governor said he has ordered a probe by state authorities.
Larkin Community Hospital, which is adjacent to the retirement home, was also being evacuated.
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