Crime4 Will Be Charged in Florida Nursing Home Deaths After Hurricane Irma, Lawyers Say
Hospitals, nursing homes begin evacuations as Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida
TALLAHASSEE – With Hurricane Dorian pounding the Bahamas, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that the Category 4 storm "has shown what it is capable of." Forecast models still show the slow-moving hurricane nearing the Florida coast Monday and Tuesday before turning north without making landfall. That movement will shape how damaging the storm is to the state, DeSantis said. "When and how that's done is going to be critical on impacts on the state of Florida," DeSantis said. Counties from Palm Beach north to the Georgia border have all issued coastal evacuations. A hurricane warning is in effect from Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia County line.
The police in Hollywood, Fla., plan to charge four employees of a nursing home in the deaths of a dozen residents who succumbed to heat exposure there in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017, lawyers for two of the employees said on Saturday.
Among those charged will be Jorge Carballo, the administrator of the nursing home, said Jim Cobb, his lawyer, as well as the director of nursing and two nurses.
Eight people died on Sept. 13, 2017, at the nursing home, the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, after air-conditioners failed in the wake of the powerful hurricane. Several more died in the following weeks. A local medical examiner ruled that 12 of the heat-related deaths were homicides.
Lessons of the past inform care for elderly residents as Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida
After Hurricane Irma, the failure to evacuate or have backup power led to calamity at a Florida nursing home.
The center was shut down, and investigations by the state and Senate found that some nurses had failed to properly record patient information, including vital signs and temperatures. The investigations also found that poor state and federal oversight and regulation had led to “questionable decision-making by facility administrators.”
In one instance, a patient was described as “resting in bed” with “even and unlabored” breathing when the patient was actually dead, a state report said. Nursing home officials have said theyand the power company that they needed help restoring the air-conditioning system — and got none. More than 100 patients were transferred from the nursing home to hospitals.
Hurricane Dorian: Category 5 right now, could it be a Category 6? No.
As Hurricane Dorian moves toward Florida's Atlantic coast, it has the potential to become one of the strongest storms of all time. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is how the National Hurricane Center measures the intensity of hurricanes. The scale breaks down hurricane categories based on the 1-minute sustained winds recorded in connection with the storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. A Category 1 hurricane, for instance, displays wind speeds between 74 to 95 mph. Conversely, a Category 5 hurricane has reached 157 mph or higher.
The governor criticized the home foruntil residents were suffering respiratory distress, and in some cases were near death. A lawyer for the nursing home responded that patients were constantly monitored and that there was no reason to call 911 before they actually became ill.
The Hollywood Police Department did not return a call seeking comment on Saturday.
Mr. Cobb said he was outraged by the. He said the police were going after people who were trying to help in the days after the hurricane devastated Caribbean islands and resulted in the deaths of 129 people, .
“It’s the government scapegoating and going as far down the food chain as they can possibly go to absolve themselves of the problems that were caused,” Mr. Cobb said. “This is just wrong.”
Lawrence Hashish said he was representing one of the nurses who faces charges. Mr. Cobb and Mr. Hashish said they expected their clients to surrender on Monday after the police obtain an arrest warrant.
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The lawyers said they had not been told exactly what charges would be filed, but expected manslaughter to be among them.
“This has been a two-year investigation and now they’re bringing the charges?” Mr. Hashish said. “If there was neglect, they would have known 22 months ago.”
It is rare for authorities to bring criminal charges against health care professionals in deaths during natural disasters. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, prosecutors in Louisianaa husband and wife with negligent homicide after 34 people in the couple’s nursing home in New Orleans. But a jury after four hours of deliberation.
Mr. Cobb led the couple’s defense team and sought to blame the state and federal government for the deaths of the trapped residents, which made up the single deadliest episode of the storm that led to.
On Saturday, Mr. Cobb said he planned to use a similar strategy to defend Mr. Carballo.
“I can assure you we will be blaming lots of folks,” Mr. Cobb said.
Hurricane Dorian could impact the 'entirety of Florida' when it makes landfall.
All of Florida is under a state of emergency and authorities are urging residents to stockpile a week's worth of food and supplies as Hurricane Dorian gathers strength and aims to slam the state as soon as Monday as a Category 4 storm. "It's going to impact the entirety of Florida, and residents need to be prepared," Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor said Friday morning on CNN's "New Day." "So, take the time now ... to understand what your local risk is." "The clock is ticking right now," he added. "Don't waste time. Prepare yourself and your family.
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A 12th person linked to the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died Thursday evening.