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'It Was Terribly Hot Like Hell': Daughter Of Patient On Florida Nursing Home That Lost Power


There are lots of questions surrounding the nursing home in south Florida where eight people died and many more were sent to the hospital. There's also a lot of finger pointing. Like many places in Florida, the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills lost power in Hurricane Irma. There was no air conditioning. Eli Pina's 96-year-old mother lives in the facility. Ms. Pina visits every day.

ELI PINA: After the hurricane, they were working on a generator because their AC broke because of Irma. And there was no power. The air condition company Airstron went in there, and they tried to repair it, but they couldn't. And they started asking for the help - Florida Power & Light, which is Florida's energy company. They unfortunately did not answer them after several calls. The facility kept calling Florida Power & Light.

And I kept calling Florida Power & Light. I have a ticket or a claim number, number 4301. Several phone calls went to them, and they were all ignored. They kept saying, we will get to it; just have patience. Well, nursing homes and medical facilities have priority in cases like this. It didn't happen with these people. We called 911 also - nothing.

SHAPIRO: When did you call 911?

PINA: I called them two days ago.

SHAPIRO: So people have asked, why didn't this nursing home call for help, say there was an emergency? And you're saying that...

PINA: They did.

SHAPIRO: ...Lots of people did. They called the power company. They called 911. They said there's no air conditioning.

PINA: (Laughter) That's what I just said. They did call several times Florida Power & Light. I called.

SHAPIRO: Can you describe what it was like in there?

PINA: Like 110 to 115 degrees.

SHAPIRO: Paint a picture for me of what it was like in the facility when it was 110, 115 degrees with elderly, sick people.

PINA: Well, when I walked in, it was terribly hot like hell. The nurses were trying to help the patients. They had them in the hall with little clothing and portable air conditions and fans. They were giving them juices and water, everything.

SHAPIRO: How long has your mother lived there?

PINA: Four months.

SHAPIRO: Four months.

PINA: Yeah.

SHAPIRO: And I know you visit her every day. Was it always well-maintained? Were you always satisfied?

PINA: Yes, it was, yes. Otherwise, I wouldn't have put her there. It was well-maintained. People were very caring. Of course it's an older type of building, but it was well-maintained and very caring.

SHAPIRO: Well, Eli Pina, thank you very much for telling us your story.

PINA: Thank you.

SHAPIRO: And I hope your mother is all right.

PINA: Thank God she is. Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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