Health Care

Irma Nursing Home Deaths: 911 calls Released

Irma Nursing Home Deaths: 911 calls Released”

These are some of the messages relayed in a series of eight 911 calls obtained the by the Herald that draw a detailed narrative of the chaos that ensued inside the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills from September 10 - when Irma made landfall in Florida - to September 13.

The Herald and the Sun-Sentinel received the calls Monday after they filed a lawsuit against the city of Hollywood after it refused to release the audio of all 911 calls made from the center on September 13, including calls at 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. that resulted in the fire-rescue response.

People were dying. Cellphone video taken by a family member of patients at Hollywood Hills in the days after Hurricane Irma gives a glimpse of the conditions inside. No dates or times are provided with the calls. In the line of calls, more instances of cardiac arrest, respiratory issues and breathing trouble follow.

"I saw her slouch over", the nurse said of Betty Hibbard, 84, who had been seated in the hallway on the second floor. She then reports that the patient has resumed breathing on her own, but it's "very labored".

But despite the growing list of sick, the nurses seem calm, each answering the same list of questions: Where is the patient?

More than 100 residents were evacuated from the nursing home, which is affiliated with the Larkin Community Hospital, on September 13 after the facility's air conditioning system failed.

The 911 calls made by employees at the facility began the day after Hurricane Irma - Monday, Sept. 11 at 6 a.m.

"The integrity of the case" would have been jeopardized had the records been released sooner, said Hollywood Police Sgt. Lyle Bein, testifying before Broward Circuit Judge Michael Gates. Seven 911 calls, including the one from the EOC, came in over a four-hour period.

"She's not breathing." "Her fingers started to change color".

In the lawsuit, the newspapers argued that the recordings were public records and that the city could not withhold them under any exemption to the state open-records law.

Geoffrey D. Smith, an attorney for the nursing home, had no comment on the calls.

Farmer puts part of the blame for the nursing home deaths on the Florida Legislature.

That same day, eight residents of the nursing home died.

Redlener also wondered if there was a doctor present at the nursing home.

Medical staff from Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, which is near the nursing home, described a chaotic scene of evacuating the patients from the nursing home after three came into the emergency room with "extraordinarily high temperatures". Last week, the state's health care agency said that homes could request extensions "under extreme circumstances".

The calls went in one after another.

"Make sure to check on the patient, please!" I'm downstairs, but the patient is upstairs with the nurse.

"She's not breathing!" she said to the operator, who told her to locate a defibrillator. It's then that she tells him there are several already there.

She told the operator: "There's another one at this moment, sir".

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