The Rehabilitation Center At Hollywood Hills

Frederica Wilson
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

When Hurricane Irma made landfall in South Florida nearly two years ago, it knocked out power across the region — in some areas for up to 10 days. A dozen people in the Rehabilitation Center At Hollywood Hills died after the storm, due to heat-related issues from lack of air-conditioning.

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

None of the more than 1,000 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Florida are on Florida Power & Light’s highest priority list for power restoration.

 

FPL rejected Broward and Miami-Dade counties’ lists, which included these facilities, according to the Sun Sentinel.

hurricane supplies
C.M. GUERRERO / Miami Herald

In the days after Hurricane Irma swept through South Florida last September, knocking out power across the region, 14 patients at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died from sweltering conditions. Twelve of those deaths were ruled homicides by the state. 

On Thursday morning, one day before the official start of a new hurricane season, South Florida seniors spoke to local emergency management officials and lawmakers about how to better prepare.

An expert witness testified that portable coolers actually made things worse in a Florida nursing home where patients died without air conditioning during Hurricane Irma.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

When legislative budget chiefs agreed during negotiations to spend $1.5 million on a study about extending a toll road north to Georgia, they started to lock into Florida’s new budget some of the 78 recommendations a House select committee created in the wake of last year’s deadly hurricane season.

Also crossing the finish line as the annual legislative session ended Sunday was storm-related money for farm repairs, nursing homes to buy generators, affordable housing in Monroe County and to help students displaced from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Florida seal
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

The state’s lawsuit against the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills continues with more hearings this week inside  a Broward County courtroom in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The Rehab Center is fighting Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to keep its license and reopen after 12 people died in sweaty and stifling hot conditions three days after Hurricane Irma made landfall in South Florida. 

Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills
Charles Trainor Jr. Miami Herald / WLRN

Hurricane Irma may have slammed across South Florida almost six months ago, but some are still feeling the effects of the storm.  

 

Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills
Charles Trainor Jr. Miami Herald / WLRN

A pathologist with the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office testified for five hours. He saw the bodies and relived the autopsy reports in front of the courtroom. 

paramedic testified that he is haunted by the deaths. 

The Fire Rescue lieutenant said she believed the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills staff were "panicked" and "overwhelmed."