Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have left many without power, food, and even housing. Hundreds are stuck rebuilding their lives following the devastation caused by thee natural disasters. Below, our nursing home neglect lawyers look at how residents are affected by natural disasters like this, and how loved ones can be proactive in protecting them.
How Nursing Home Residents Were Affected
As news of Hurricane Harvey emerged, hospitals and nursing homes scrambled to get their patients into safer, drier places, and bed- or wheelchair-ridden patients feared they wouldn’t be able to escape. As nursing homes flooded, with water up to some residents’ beds, nursing home workers and emergency volunteers evacuated patients by helicopter and boat. Some residents had to wait their turn in dark rooms with murky water up to their waists.
One patient remembers sitting in water that was up to his knees, for hours, after he called 911. The bipolar and schizophrenic man’s caretaker went home before the big storm, and left the man to fend for himself.
Florida was luckier than the westernmost states of the Gulf Coast. Loss of power was arguably the worst part of Hurricane Irma spilling into the state. Power failures meant no air conditioning, which led to heat-exhausted and dehydrated nursing home residents.
In one nursing home, eight patients died of the oppressive heat because they weren’t transported out of it soon enough. This same facility Hollywood Hills, has had two other instances of electricity problems, being cited for generator violations.
Authorities have started a criminal investigation to look into the details of the eight deaths, and governor Rick Scott has called for its Medicaid funding to be cut off.
Natural Disaster Preparation
Hurricane season isn’t over yet, so those of you in areas prone to hurricanes should prepare for the worst. Make sure you have plenty of food and water, and other essentials like battery-powered flashlights, cell phone chargers, dust masks, and first-aid kits. Find more information on building a safety kit, here.
It’a our hope that these unfortunate events spark a conversation about increasing nursing home safety. All nursing homes should prepare for natural disasters well before they happen. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, and are worried about their safety during a natural disaster, look up the facility and check for recent violations. We recommend this
Nursing Home Inspect tool.
Nursing homes should have adequate backup generators, evacuation procedures, and other protocols and guidelines for emergency situations. Do as much digging as you can into the facility, and remember it’s your right to change facilities if you so choose.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-934-6555
How We Can Help You
The compassionate nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers at Pintas and Mullins fight for the justice our elders and their families deserve.
If you suspect your loved one has been neglected while in the care of a nursing home,contact us today. We provide free consultations to potential clients nationwide.