Nursing home tragedy unfolded days after Irma's initial hit

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Five patients at a nursing home in Hollywood, Fla., died in Hurricane Irma's aftermath as people confronted a multitude of new hazards in the storm's wake, including oppressive heat, brush-clearing accidents and poisonous fumes from generators.

On Thursday, detectives were at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills after receiving a search warrant to investigate the eight patients' deaths, which police believed were heat-related.

Irma hit Florida about two weeks after Hurricane Harvey plowed into Houston, killing about 60 people and causing some $180 billion in damage, mostly from flooding.

In their next report, at 5 PM on Tuesday, September 12th, the facility reported that they had partial power, but that their heating and cooling systems and generator were operational.

According to the city statement, Hollywood Fire Rescue team found many patients in varying degree of medical distress and hence immediately started treatment of those serious patients. Florida has about 680 nursing homes providing shelter to around 73, 000 residents and out of them, around 150 facilities are now devoid of full power supply.

By Monday, eight portable air coolers and fans were placed around the facility, operating on the standard 110 voltage that was apparently not affected when a larger voltage transformer serving the air conditioning chiller failed Sunday. "What we have been generally treating is dehydration, severe respiratory conditions and heat exhaustion".

Rosemary Cooper, a licensed practical nurse at the rehabilitation center, defended the staff's work but declined to discuss specifics.

"I've been there sometimes when it didn't", she said.

It's the tragedy of Irma now shocking the entire state.

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Almost 3.8 million power customers in the state still lacked service early Wednesday as the mammoth effort to restore electricity in the often hot and humid region continues. He added that calls to Florida Power & Light had not been returned.

Lawmakers submitted legislation requiring generators at adult living facilities and nursing homes. As a precaution, Hollywood police officers were checking on the 42 other assisted-living facilities and nursing homes in the area. "It points to the need for having plans in advance when it comes to emergency preparation".

Although exact numbers of Irma-related deaths are not yet available, the Associated Press has reported that, apart from the nursing home deaths, 13 people in Florida have died "in Irma-related circumstances".

The death toll from Irma stood at 81, with several hard-hit Caribbean islands accounting for more than half the fatalities, and officials continued to assess damage inflicted by the second major hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland this year. The company met with officials in Broward County in early March, he said.

An AHCA official at the state's emergency management center expressed concern Thursday to colleagues and nursing home industry representatives that some facilities have not been reporting their status to the Health STAT system twice a day, as required by the state during the disaster - suggesting power outages may be to blame. More than 300,000 customers in the county, or a third of the total, are still without power as of midday Wednesday.

Also subject of the petition: reports and documents specifically concerning Vega - who, at 99, was the oldest of the eight residents to die. "You're not going to convince a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor to do something that she doesn't want to do".

SHAPIRO: And I know you visit her every day.

Hollywood is located in southeast Florida between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

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