The death toll has risen, and may continue to rise, at a Florida nursing home that lost air conditioning as a result of Hurricane Irma. Two more patients died in hospitals following the evacuation of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills on Wednesday, bringing the total number of dead to eight. Three patients died at the facility earlier Wednesday, while three others died in hospitals. The deceased ranged in age from 71 to 99 and their causes of death are not yet clear. But the medical director at a hospital across the street from the facility, where evacuees were taken, says most were treated for "respiratory distress, dehydration, and heat-related issues," per Local 10. He adds at least 12 other patients are in emergency care.
The Rehabilitation Center has been barred from admitting patients as agencies investigate. Hollywood police are also conducting a criminal investigation. The facility has previously faced issues regarding care and safety and a pending lawsuit claims employees "failed to properly monitor and supervise the care and treatment" of a patient who suffered infections, sepsis, and dehydration, report the Washington Post and Miami Herald. A man who'd been trying to fix the facility's AC unit, however, says Florida Power & Light could be at fault. Despite repeated calls to the company to repair a fuse, no one showed up, he tells Local 10. Florida Power & Light counters that the Rehabilitation Center wasn't on Broward County's list of critical infrastructure. (Read more Florida stories.)