8 nursing home residents die after air conditioning failure

During regular tours or visits to a nursing home, the facility may seem well taken care of. Staffing levels can be appropriate; it can look neat and clean; residents may seem calm and well attended. However, a facility may not be as safe and attentive as it seems in times when these features prove to be the most critical.

For instance, eight people recently died when a nursing home lost air conditioning in the wake of Hurricane Irma. 

A devastating situation

According to reports, the home lost power in the storm, which also led to a prolonged power failure of the air conditioning system. The temperature inside the facility skyrocketed. 

Four people died after arriving at the hospital; four more died inside the facility. At least 40 others were in critical condition by the time hospital staff arrived to provide emergency care. 

Who is to blame?

In light of the horrific situation, there has been plenty of finger pointing. The facility failed to evacuate the residents when the home got too hot and waited too long to get the help they needed to care for their residents, despite having a hospital down the street. 

The power company failed to provide the help or repairs the home desperately needed. Calls from relatives and facility workers went unanswered in the days after the storm.

County officials are being blamed for failing to categorize the nursing home as a "top-tier" infrastructure that would have prioritized its power needs in an emergency. 

What Ohioans can learn from this situation

This situation is a grim but important reminder to take a deeper look at the facility in which your loved one may be living. What happens if the home loses power during a severe storm, for instance? Are there sources of backup power? Will the residents be evacuated?

Educating yourself on these procedures can be critical, especially as we cross into fall and winter, when storms and blizzards can cause serious problems for facilities like nursing homes. 

Should your loved one get sick or pass away as a result of negligence or failed safety precautions, it can be critical that you consult an attorney who can help investigate the situation, identify the liable party and take legal action to secure the financial compensation you deserve.

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