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10th Patient Dies Due to Hurricane Irma Power Outage at Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills

— September 26, 2017

A 10th patient has died in the aftermath of a disaster at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Florida, following a power outage caused by Hurricane Irma.

Former rehabilitation center resident Martha Murray, aged 94, died last week, according to the Hollywood Hills Police Department.

The Florida nursing home has had its license suspended in the wake of the tragedy and is now the subject of an active criminal investigation.

According to ABC News, over 100 patients were evacuated from the facility after its air-conditioning system failed. Staff from the nearby Memorial Regional Hospital said that several of the center’s residents entered the emergency room with “extraordinarily high temperatures,” ranging all the way up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida, residents at Hollywood Hills had been assured that they were safe and wouldn’t need to be evacuated. Staff were on hand to care for the most vulnerable patients, the center’s management promised, and would react promptly in the case of any emergency.

However, the administrators had failed to inform patients and their families that the Rehabilitation Center lacked a backup generator for its air-conditioning system, which crashed after an electrical outage.

The family of at least one patient has already sued the facility, claiming “negligence and reckless indifference” to the plight of its residents.

The legal guardian of 94-year old Rosa Cabrera, who filed the suit, said Cabrera is a double-amputee “without the ability to walk or live independently.”

The complaint was filed by Cabrera’s guardian with Broward County, FL, shortly after Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm, just under two weeks ago.

Cabrera, along with many other elderly patients, were admitted to Memorial Regional Hospital with a multitude of heat-related injuries.

The scale of the tragedy prompted Florida Governor Rick Scott to promise that all those responsible for the deaths would be held accountable.

The administrator of the Rehabilitation Center, Jorge Carballo, said in a statement last week that the facility was evacuated the preceding Wednesday “due to a prolonged power failure to the transformer which powered the facility’s air conditioning system as a result of the hurricane.”

“Facility administration is cooperating fully with relevant authorities to investigate the circumstances that led to this unfortunate and tragic outcome,” said Carballo in another statement. “Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were affected.”


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