Hollywood, Florida police have released tapes from six 911 calls made by the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills on September 13th, the nursing home in Florida that allowed 14 residents to die after being left to suffer for several days in sweltering heat following Hurricane Irma.
The background of the calls reveal rushed, distressed attempts to stabilize patients while nurses, nursing assistants, and medical assistants relay information to 911 operators. In each of the calls, a staff member from the Rehab Center at Hollywood Hills tells the operator that the patient is in some form of cardiac or respiratory distress. In a chilling portion of the tape, the operator asks the final caller if she had already called about the current patient or if she was calling on behalf of a new patient. A nursing assistant responds, “this is a new patient.” She also tells the operator that they have several other paramedics there already.
All 6 calls came between 3-6:30 a.m. That day, 8 patients died, and 6 others died in the days following.
The Blame Game
The nursing home is under criminal investigation for failing to move residents after the nursing home lost power due to Hurricane Irma. The facility has claimed that they had a contingency plan for power loss, but upon emergency crew’s arrival on the scene, they found only a few portable air conditioning units for the entire facility. According to reports, some of the victims had fevers as high as 109 degrees. The facility has also defended itself by saying they made calls to Florida Power & Light (FP&L) asking them to quickly come restore their power, as well as a call to Governor Rick Scott, asking him to expedite their request for a service visit by FP&L.
In another call released by the police department, a caller from the Broward Emergency Operations Center succinctly tells 911 that they received a bothersome call from Larkin Community Hospital Behavioral Health Services, connected to the Rehab Center at Hollywood Hills. He tells 911 that the caller from Larkin told him they had potential casualties and needed emergency services “right now.” He also says that they had received a similar call from Larkin the day prior and had rerouted it.
There are multiple lawsuits pending against the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, but little has been said about the role the government played in the tragic deaths of the 14 victims. Either way, failing to evacuate patients during a hurricane-related power loss had fatal consequences. It seems unfathomable that a nursing home in a hurricane prone state would not have stronger plans in place in the event of a power loss. Levin & Perconti’s own Steven Levin, one of the country’s top nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys, was interviewed live on HLN the morning the 911 calls came in. To see his interview with HLN’s Carol Costello, please click here.