A harrowing story out of Florida is drawing attention to nursing home neglect. Six people are dead and one hundred more could suffer heat-related illnesses after a Hollywood, Florida nursing home’s power failed. Though the facility had a generator, it was either broken, was not fueled, or was never turned on.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, millions of homes and businesses are without power. Medical facilities have means of backup power specifically for situations such as this. Electricity is necessary for a variety of purposes when dealing with medically fragile individuals, from running oxygen supports to powering ventilators to simply keeping the lights and the cooling on.
This was a preventable situation. Residents and businesses knew for over a week that a hurricane was coming, and that sustained power outages were likely. During this time, medical facilities must test their backups to make sure that the health and safety of residents and patients are not put at risk.
Sadly, neglect is common in nursing homes. It is rare to see an elderly care facility not keep the lights and cooling on, but bedsores and other neglect related diseases are fairly common in many facilities. Many of these problems come down to cutting corners to maximize profit, running skeleton crews to avoid the cost of hiring a full staff. This incident is in keeping with that mindset, with the generator not running or not fueled or not working to save a buck.
If your loved one has suffered due to nursing home neglect, know that neglect is another form of abuse. If you have any questions or concerns regarding what happened to the person you care for, please consult with an experienced attorney. A skilled lawyer will walk you through understanding legal expectations regarding the care your loved one should have received.