Eleven people passed away during the harsh conditions caused by Hurricane Irma at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, Florida. Now, it appears that Governor Rick Scott deleted voicemails which stressed the urgency of the situation.
During the recent storm, a tree knocked out the power to the facility, causing the air conditioner to be non-functioning. Numerous residents died in the extreme heat.
According to CBS Miami, Natasha Anderson, a vice president with The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, made several calls to the governor Rick Scott's cellphone in order to request “immediate assistance” in restoring the power to their air conditioning system. Not only did the calls go unanswered, Scott also claims he never received any communications on the matter.
“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," a spokesperson for the governor responded to a request for copies of the voicemails.
Scott has since cut off Medicaid and Medicare funding for the nursing home and suspended its license.
Only days before the Hurricane hit, Scott had urged emergency facilities to call his cell phone should serious problems occur.
Between September 10 and 12, numerous calls were made to Scott's personal number and other emergency services. The governor’s office says the calls were returned by someone from the state Department of Health. The nursing home was urged to relay their situation to 911.
By September 13, patients at the home were suffering from serious medical ailments caused by the heat. Five had died, with at least one patient's body registering a temperature of 109 degrees. This led to an evacuation in which more would perish.
Scott's office continues to claim that the messages were deleted in accordance with standard procedure and that the existence of the voicemails are a non-issue.
“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.
[Photo: Getty Images]