By Valeria Bula
Roughly about a month after Hurricane Irma swept across Florida, leaving destruction in
its wake, two more residents, Francesca Andrade, 95, and Cecilia Franco, the 90-year- old wife of another resident, Miguel Antonio Franco, who died a week after the hurricane, have passed away as announced by the Hollywood Police Department on Monday afternoon
Andrade’s death marked the 14th person to have passed away in the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where they failed to evacuate residents from the sweltering heat as a result of their air conditioning being knocked out after Hurricane Irma.
Cecilia Franco, who had lived at the nursing home for eight years, was one of the many
victims of cruelty and neglect by the hands of the nursing home staff. She was in the hospital bed beside her husband of 62 years, Miguel, when he passed away a week after Irma hit. At 3:45 a.m. Monday – almost a month after her husband’s passing, Cecilia joined her husband in death, according to the family lawyer, Albert Levin.
“It’s a horrific tragedy for this family to have to undergo this not once, but twice within
30 days,” Levin said to the Sun Sentinel. “And to relive it is just God awful.”
Cecilia, Miguel and Francesca are one of the many victims of the hazardous conditions
under which patients were living in the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, first reported to officials on September 13.
By then, eight residents had been already confirmed dead, from the ages of 71 to 99.
Three more died the consecutive week, along with a 57-year- old woman who died the week after.
Franco’s family is one amongst the many that have filed lawsuits against the institution
that allegedly did not provide the proper care to Franco, who at the time the family claimed to have already been in serious condition.
Her death is being treated as a criminal investigation, according to Hollywood police
spokesperson Miranda Grossman. An investigation is also being carried by The Florida
Department of Law Enforcement.
“My grandfather couldn’t live without her,” said the couple’s granddaughter, Erika
Navarro, on Monday. “And he can now be reunited with her.”
Many of the 141 evacuated residents were treated for heat-related issues. All the deaths
are also being considered part of a criminal investigation by the City of Hollywood as well as state and federal agencies.
As a result of hurricane Irma, a downed tree knocked out the transformer powering the air conditioning system. As a result, several patients were relocated to hallways and cooled only by scarce fans and spot coolers.
Despite a numerous amount of calls made between the nursing homes and state
authorities, the nursing home did not report any eminent danger towards the patients or the need to evacuate according to a report last month by Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
The state advised managers “multiple times” to call 911 if such a situation arose –
“something they failed to do.”
“This facility is failing to take responsibility for the fact that they delayed calling 911 and
made the decision not to evacuate their patients to one of the largest hospitals in Florida, which is directly across the street,” Scott said in a statement last month.
Since then, the facility has since been shut down and laid off its 245 employees.
Cecilia and Miguel Antonio Franco will be buried together.
Source:: The Harbinger