FL Gov’s Office Deleted Voicemails From Nursing Home Where 11 Died After Irma

Police surround the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which had no air conditioning after Hurricane Irma knocked out power. Three people died at the center and three others later died at Memorial Regional Hospital. John McCall, South Florida Sun-Sentinel...SOUTH FLORIDA OUT; NO MAGS; NO SALES; NO INTERNET; NO TV...
John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Administrators at a Hollywood, Florida nursing home — where 11 died allegedly due to heat when it lost power after Hurricane Irma — left four voicemails with the governor’s office asking for “immediate assistance” 36 hours before the first patient died, CBS Miami reported.

But those voicemails were deleted by the governor’s staff, Gov. Rick Scott’s office confirmed Sunday.

The information from the messages was collected and distributed to the proper agencies before the voicemails were deleted, a spokesperson for Scott’s office said in a statement, according to The Washington Post

The voicemails left on the governor’s cell phone came after the rehabilitation facility made repeated calls to Florida Power and Light when it lost power after Hurricane Irma’s landfall, an nursing home official told CBS Miami.

The nursing home was evacuated three days later after five people died due to heat-related health issues, CBS Miami reported. At least six more residents died after the evacuation.

The governor’s office claimed every call was returned and someone from the state Department of Health told the nursing home staff to call 911 if anyone was in distress.

“None of this changes the fact that this facility chose not to call 911 or evacuate their patients to the hospital across the street to save lives,” a spokesperson told CBS Miami.

After the deaths were reported, Scott stripped the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills of its Medicaid and Medicare funding and suspended its license while the center is under investigation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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