Broward County officials said today that six people died in a Hollywood nursing home that lost power after Hurricane Irma.
That triggered calls from Sen. Bill Nelson for an investigation.
"This is an inexcusable tragedy that frail patients would die of heat exhaustion without it being recognized and taking them to the hospital next door,” Nelson said in a statement. “I have spoken with the Secretary of HHS to get to the bottom of this. We need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep our seniors safe during this difficult time.”
Gov. Rick Scott, who is likely to challenge Nelson next year, said he was ”absolutely heartbroken” by the news.
“Protecting the lives of Floridians is my top priority and that’s why we have worked all week to help Floridians prepare and respond to Hurricane Irma. I am going to aggressively demand answers on how this tragic event took place,” Scott said. ”Although the details of these reported deaths are still under investigation, this situation is unfathomable. Every facility that is charged with caring for patients must take every action and precaution to keep their patients safe – especially patients that are in poor health. I have directed the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Children and Families to immediately work with local law enforcement to conduct an investigation, and if they find that anyone wasn’t acting in the best interests of their patients, we will hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law. I am also asking available first responders to immediately check in with the healthcare facilities in their area to make sure nursing homes and assisted living facilities are able to keep their residents safe.”