A dozen of the seniors who died in a sweltering Florida nursing home left without power after Hurricane Irma have been ruled homicides, police said.
Fourteen people died at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills when it was evacuated on Sept. 13, having been without power or air conditioning in unmerciful heat.
Eight of the victims died that day, while another six perished afterward.
The hospital, which has not reopened, came under immediate scrutiny for a lack of a backup generator to keep the building cool.
Roughly 140 people were removed from the Hollywood facility on Sept. 13, after they reportedly left to sit in the thick heat with nothing more than open windows and fans.
The horrid conditions were attributed to 12 deaths at the Florida facility.
(Amy Beth Bennett/AP)
Cellphone video recorded by loved ones showed elderly patients sitting in pain — some of them curled up without clothes — trying to bear with the heat.
Boward County’s chief medical examiner previously ruled 95-year-old Francesca Andrade’s death wasn’t a result of the heat.
Police added Wednesday that 94-year-old Alice Thomas’ death wasn’t caused by the horrific conditions either, the Miami Herald reported.
That meant police are still investigating the deaths of: Albertina Vega, 99; Manuel Mario Mendieta, 96; Martha Murray, 94; Carlos Canal, 93; Miguel Antonio Franco, 92; Cecilia Franco, 90; Betty Hibbard, 84; Bobby Owens, 84; Carolyn Eatherly, 78; Estella Hendricks, 71; Gail Nova, 71; and Dolores Biamonte, 57.
Irma ripped through Florida in mid-September, laying waste throughout the Sunshine State.
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Erika Navarro, granddaughter of Cecilia and Miguel Antonio Franco, said the announcement just strengthened what was already obvious.
The question now is what’s going to happen to those responsible, she said.
“The next steps are the more important ones: Who is going to be held accountable? Are they going to go to jail? Are they just going to get a free pass and just pay money, and nothing else happens?” Navarro told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “To me, that’s more important, that people are held accountable and they actually go to jail.”
State officials are trying to pull the Rehabilitation Center’s license, but the nursing home is pushing back on that effort.
Within days of the facility’s evacuation, relatives of the victims began filing wrongful death lawsuits against the center, according to the Miami Herald.
Source: New York Daily News
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