Hollywood Hills Nursing Home — Grim News

by Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley
Contact

Victims of Profit?

The death toll mounted again in the Broward County nursing-home disaster following Hurricane Irma. A ninth patient expired after being evacuated from The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in the midst of a power outage that turned the facility into a sweltering sarcophagus of sorts. It was reported that some of the seniors had triple-digit body temperatures prior to their passing.

The fact that a major hospital with functioning utilities sits across the street from the nursing home makes the disaster a needlessly senseless one. The Hollywood Police Department has launched a criminal investigation into the case and obtained a warrant to search the premises.

The Category 4 storm began impacting South Florida Sept. 9.  The power at the nursing home went out Sept. 11. The first patient died Sept. 12. Seven more died Sept. 13. Carlos Canal, 93, died Sept. 19. In all, more than 100 frail elderly were moved to Memorial Regional Hospital – but not soon enough.

“The mass tragedy has resulted in officials from the nursing home, Florida Power & Light and Broward County blaming one another,” the Sun Sentinel reports in an article titled “Ninth nursing home patient dies; Gov. Scott details contact with state.” “Some of the victims’ relatives say they blame the owners and staff at the nursing home. Others jumped to the defense of workers who, they say, went out of their way to be kind and compassionate.”

Gov. Rick Scott did not mince words.

“No amount of finger pointing by the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Facility and Larkin Community Hospital Behavioral Health Services will hide the fact that this healthcare facility failed to do their basic duty to protect life,” Scott said in a statement issued hours after Mr. Canal’s death. “This facility is failing to take responsibility for the fact that they delayed calling 911 and made the decision to not evacuate their patients to one of the largest hospitals in Florida, which is directly across the street. The more we learn about this, the more concerning this tragedy is.

“Through the investigation, we need to understand why the facility made the decision to put patients in danger, whether they were adequately staffed, where they placed cooling devices and how often they checked in on their patients,” he continued. “The families of those who trusted the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hill deserve answers and those responsible for this horrific behavior should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Many already have taken matters into their own hands. Lawsuits have been filed on behalf of two of the victims, Carolyn Eatherly, 78, and Mario Mendieta, 96, alleging administrators failed to property remove residents when it became lethally hot. Eatherly suffered from Alzheimer’s disease with no immediate family in the vicinity, meaning few, if any, visitors. Mendieta had several medical conditions and, conversely, had many visitors. Their attorneys additionally are admonishing the state’s largest electric company for being as much at fault as the nursing staff.

“FPL has a lot of responsibility here,” Coral Gables counselor Carlos Silva said in a Miami Herald article titled “Two more lawsuits say Hollywood nursing home and FPL share responsibility for deaths.” “They were notified several times of the problems this nursing home was having. …If they had been on a priority list, they would have gotten to them within 10 hours and these people would have been OK.”

The first lawsuit to be filed was on behalf of survivor Rosa Cabrera, who has diabetes, obesity and is a double amputee. The 94-year-old woman’s son-in-law said it was a disgrace how industry professionals handled the situation.

“If they had called 911 and removed all the patients immediately, no one would have died,” Ray Nazario said in another Miami Herald article titled “First lawsuit filed against Hollywood nursing home after 8 residents died.” “She was very traumatized when she learned about the deaths.”

Also entered into Broward Circuit Court was an emergency petition aimed at archiving photos, videos and other evidence before, during and after the inclement weather that could be used to hold the nursing home accountable. The petition was filed on behalf of the oldest patient to perish, Albertina Vega, 99.

“It’s much bigger than one person, and until we get to the bottom of what happened here, based on what’s available to us, that this is about money and neglect,” Miami lawyer John  Leighton told the Herald in an article titled “Complaint seeks to preserve video, photos from nursing home where 8 died.”

The remaining bodies have been identified as Miguel Franco, 92, Estella Hendricks, 71, Betty Hibbard, 84, Gail Nova, 71, and Bobby Owens, 84.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley
Contact
more
less

Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.