Four aged care employees in the US are facing charges for the deaths of aged care residents who fell victim to extreme heat in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Fourteen residents of Floridian aged care home Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died after the site lost air conditioning following Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Months later, 12 of the deaths were ruled homicides.
Hollywood Police issued warrants for the arrest of the centre’s chief executive Jorge Carballo, charge nurse Sergo Colin and nurses Althia Meggie and Tamika Miller.
The chief executive and charge nurse both face 12 counts of aggravated manslaughter and neglect of an elderly adult, while Meggie faces charges of aggravated manslaughter and tampering with evidence. Miller’s charges are as yet unknown.
At the time news broke of the first eight deaths, the home said health and administrative staff diligently prepared for the impact of Hurricane Irma but that the centre lost one transformer that powers the air conditioning unit.
Staff said they repeatedly contacted the local power company for updates and reached out to local emergency officials and first responders. They also set up mobile cooling units and fans to bring the temperature down.
Governor of Florida Rick Scott issued a statement urging all assisted living facilities and nursing homes to obtain ample resources, including a generator and the appropriate amount of fuel, to sustain operations and maintain comfortable temperatures for at least 96 hours following a power outage.
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