Florida nursing home tells Congress Irma deaths not staff’s fault

FILE - Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – A Florida nursing home under investigation for the deaths of 13 patients after Hurricane Irma says in a letter to Congress that staff members did everything possible but couldn’t overcome a lack of power to the central air conditioner.

In a letter released Monday, Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills attorney Geoffrey D. Smith told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that employees followed proper procedures between the air conditioner losing power on Sept. 10 and when the deaths began Sept. 13.

He said managers made repeated calls to Florida Power & Light and the state in an effort to get the air conditioning power restored. Meanwhile, he says employees used portable air conditioners and closely monitored patients. He says the deaths began suddenly and without warning.

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