Republican Governor Helped Kill 11 Elderly People By Deleting Their Messages Begging For Help

Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms ever recorded, was responsible for the deaths of at least 102 people, 44 of whom were in the Caribbean. Of the fatalities recorded in the mainland US, at least 50 were in Florida, 11 of which were due to the stifling conditions inside a South Florida nursing home after it lost power. Those 11 deaths could have possibly been avoided if Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott had heeded the emergency calls he had received about the worsening conditions in the home.

A criminal Probe has been opened into the tragedy at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hill, a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, north of Miami, where five bodies were found inside the home itself, with more patients dying later in a nearby hospital. The Vice President of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, Natasha Anderson, attempted to contact Governor Scott by phone on four separate occasions in the two days leading up to the death of the first patient, leaving a message each time about the worsening conditions inside the home and asking for “immediate assistance.” When Scott’s office was contacted in regards to the messages, a spokeswoman said, “The voicemails were not retained.”

In what could amount to possible charges of criminal negligence against Scott, the spokeswoman wrote in an email: “The voicemails were not retained because the information from each voicemail was collected by the Governor’s staff and given to the proper agency for handling.” Despite Anderson’s claims that she requested “immediate assistance,” Scott has stated that nobody from the nursing home said the patients were in Danger or that the situation was at crisis level.

Anderson called Florida Power and Light after the 152-bed facility lost power to its air-conditioning at around 3pm on September 10. FPL said they would have crews dispatched the next morning, but to no avail so on the evening of September 11, Anderson called a cellphone number provided by Scott during a conference call prior to the emergency in which he claimed they could contact him him if trouble arose, however, she was only able to get his voicemail. She tried three more times the following day, met with the same result. Patients at the home began to suffer from a variety of health problems between 3am and 6am on the morning of September 13, some of whom had body temperatures recorded as high as 109°.

“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 spokeswoman noted.

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“I am going to work to aggressively demand answers on how this tragic event took place,” Governor Rick Scott said in a statement. “This situation is unfathomable. Every facility that is charged with caring for patients must take every action and precaution to keep their patients safe.”

The governor has since shut off the facility’s Medicare and Medicaid funding.


Featured image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images