The month of June usually invokes thoughts of barbeques, beach trips and fun outdoor activities, but every Floridian knows that this extremely hot, muggy weather is often a harbinger of the dreaded “H” word: Hurricanes. Hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and spans for half the year until November 30. This year’s hurricane season is just weeks away, and it is alarming that a large number of Florida’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not up to par with backup power generator requirements, according to Sun-Sentinel newspaper.
When Nursing Homes are Unprepared for Hurricanes, the Consequences are Potentially Lethal
The agency for Health Care Administration informed people that only 35% of the 684 nursing homes across Florida have installed the required generators. Governor Rick Scott tried to instate requirements for backup generators after twelve residents of the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills died in 2017 from illnesses and/or conditions related to Hurricane Irma taking out the Broward County facility’s air-conditioning system.
Since these traumatic deaths in the aftermath of Irma, Florida has revoked the license from the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, concluding that this facility created an unsafe environment and that they didn’t take the appropriate measures to save lives after the air conditioning was knocked out. The nursing home was negligent in their actions as they did not evacuate the residents even as the temperatures became increasingly hotter even though there was a fully operational hospital with power across the street. Had this facility acted more carefully and responsibly, these twelve lives could have been saved and the suffering that many others went through could have been lessened.
At The Eberst Law Firm we recognize that every single life is valuable, and we encourage you to read our full article so that you are knowledgeable regarding what exactly constitutes Nursing Home abuse and/or negligence and you know what your legal rights are.
Nursing Homes can be held Legally Liable for Various Types of Abuse and/or Neglect
AllLaw.com explains how a nursing home or similar entity can be held legally responsible, meaning that a lawsuit can be pursued against said entity, when an act of negligence or abuse occurs on the premises that causes harm to a resident.
This same article goes on to outline some examples of negligent actions that can lay the grounds for a lawsuit being filed:
- Failing to keep the premises reasonably safe and free of hazards, including both dangers that the facility is already aware of Ex: that a leaky pipe could cause someone to slip and fall, and dangers that the facility should be aware of through due diligence Ex: knowing that a senile, irritable resident could become aggressive and cause potential harm to another if left in a room one on one with another resident
- Hiring an employee without performing adequate background and reference checks or failing to properly train and supervise employees, both of which allow the opportunity for a staff member to potentially neglect or abuse a resident Ex: Retaining and failing to investigate a nurse who has had several patient complaints of her not turning them as scheduled, which leads to multiple residents developing bedsores
- Failing to supervise residents who then trip, fall, or otherwise injure themselves Ex: Allowing a 90 year old man with severe arthritis and Alzheimer’s to walk alone down the stairs, which leads to him missing a step, falling and breaking his hip
- Failing to have and enforce adequate health and safety policies all throughout the facility Ex: Being alerted that a resident had developed a serious, highly infectious sickness, and failing to quickly and effectively clean all of the common areas and the patient’s room, leading to several other residents developing the same sickness
- Failing to provide sufficient, timely medical treatment for residents Ex: A novice physician is presented with a resident who has severe diarrhea and hemorrhaging, and instead of ordering the patient to be immediately transported to the hospital for more advanced treatment, he insists he can treat the problem and the patient dies due to blood loss or Ex: A poorly maintained wall collapses on a resident’s head, and the staff fails to treat the injury quickly, thus causing the resident to suffer a traumatic brain injury
As far as the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills who allowed twelve residents to perish in South Florida’s sweltering heat, their negligence was in failing to have adequate backup generators that would kick on in a foreseeable, powerful south Florida hurricane and in failing to relocate the residents to a neighboring, fully functional and airconditioned hospital, which ultimately proved to be a lethal mistake. Yes, moving all of the residents would present its own unique set of challenges and potential perils, but it undoubtedly would have saved most if not all of the lives that were lost and caused much less pain and suffering for the residents who survived the unlivable, deadly heat.
Consult with an Experienced Attorney to Fight Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
If you or a loved one have experienced any type of nursing home abuse or neglect (or suspect that you have), please contact The Eberst Law Firm immediately for a free consultation. You can reach us by calling 772-225-4900 or by contacting us online. It is important to act as quickly as possible, as the perpetrator(s) often abuse and/or neglect more than just one person; the sooner the action is reported and dealt with, the sooner it will stop happening to both you (or your loved one) and other innocent residents. Also, we will more quickly be able to pursue a lawsuit against the responsible parties in order to achieve a fair settlement for you or your loved one.