With an ongoing criminal investigation and at least 2 wrongful death lawsuits underway against Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, information is beginning to come to light that shows the nursing home and its owner purposely hid a power outage that left residents without air conditioning, causing 8 deaths and leaving many others hospitalized for respiratory distress and dehydration. As news broke of the tragedy on Wednesday, Levin and Perconti founding partner Steven Levin told HLN’s Carol Costello that a Florida nursing home who knew to expect high temperatures at this time of year and left their residents “vulnerable to something as simple as a power failure or an air conditioning breakdown is inexplicable. I can’t imagine what defense or excuse they could offer for a tragedy of this proportion.”
No Backup Plan
Initial reports stated that 5 residents were found dead, but as the day progressed, 8 residents were declared dead and nearly 150 were evacuated, with at least 12 in critical condition at Hollywood, Florida-area hospitals. The story became even more unbelievable when reporters quickly pointed out that less than 50 feet away was unaffiliated Regional Memorial Hospital. As the first residents began arriving there, the hospital’s staff quickly realized what had happened and volunteered to take part in caring for and transferring patients from the facility. Hollywood police and Florida Governor Rick Scott are demanding answers. According to a statement by Governor Scott’s office, “At no time did the facility report that conditions had become dangerous or that the health and safety of their patients was at risk. In fact, on Monday, September 11, Department of Health staff advised this facility to call 911 if they had any reason to believe that their patients were not safe.” The first indication of distress didn’t come until an anonymous 911 call was made around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, September 13, two days after the Florida Department of Health was told nothing was wrong.