The deaths that occurred at a nursing home during power outages caused by Hurricane Irma have become the center of a growing political scandal. Now, The New York Times is sharing the contents of the horrific calls made by nurses hoping to acquire assistance during the disaster.
Six calls were made within three and a half hours following a power outage at the The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, Florida, leading to medical proffesionals from a nearby hospital arriving on the scene and observing the terrifying conditions of patients, some of whom were suffering from heat strokes and body temperatures of 109 degrees.
“Oh my God, this is crazy,” a woman making the fourth call commented at around 6:15 am. “We are initiating CPR at this moment,” she said before handing the phone to another staff member to attend to a suffering patient.
As time passed the calls became more urgent. “I have another patient that’s in respiratory distress,” one caller said. “Make sure to check on the patient, please! I’m on this call ... I’m on the phone for the next patient.”
“She’s not breathing!” she said to the operator. “Yes, a defibrillator, get a defibrillator for her ... There’s another one at this moment, sir.”
These calls became controversial after governor Rick Scott attempted to deny that the nursing home had made them at all, shifting the blame of the eleven deaths that occurred back on to the facility. Reporters from the The Sun-Sentinel and The Miami Herald had gone to court to demand that the audio be released amid investigations into the situation.
“Investigators have now completed witness interviews related to the 911 calls and have determined that the audio can be released without jeopardizing the ongoing investigation,” the police said in a news release.
Governor Scott has since istituted a new emergency rule that would require nursing homes to have enough generators and fuel to ensure the survival of patients in a crisis. Nursing homes having previously resisted these restrictions, citing the expenses of the equipment.
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