Family members of Hollywood nursing home survivor sue facility

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Family members of a woman who was a patient inside a Hollywood nursing home where eight others died is now suing the facility.

The lawsuit is being filed by the family of 94-year-old double-amputee Rosa Cabrera, who is now recovering inside a hospital after she and 144 other patients were evacuated from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, Wednesday.

Cellphone video shows one patient at the nursing home on Tuesday night, days after the facility lost power.

By Wednesday, eight patients had died, launching a criminal investigation. The facility was unable to maintain comfortable temperatures.

“These things shouldn’t happen,” said Ray Nazario, Cabrera’s family member.

Gary Cohen, the attorney for Cabrera’s family believes the temperature inside the home was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. “People were literally baked to death over a period of three days,” he said.

“She was stressed out. She was very nervous. She had chest pains,” said Nazario. “She was somewhat dehydrated, and they weren’t treating her for that.”

Among other things, the family is suing for gross negligence. “A full staff of doctors and nurses watched them slowly die, when they have a hospital over my left shoulder,” said Cohen as he stood outside of Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.

Peter Hodkin was one of the 145 patients who were evacuated from the Rehabilitation Center. “I saw ambulance lights at about 4 in the morning, so I knew that there was a problem of some sort,” he said. “Then, in the morning, it was like a Chinese fire drill. People rushing in emergency.”

Among other things, the family feels fortunate that Cabrera is still with them, but they said the situation should have never happened, and they want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“We just got her here in April because at the other one, she lost a leg because the negligence of the other nursing home, so we put her here, and she almost died here,” said Nazario. “We’re going crazy with this stuff. And then all the agony during that morning trying to find out whether she was OK, you know, for two or three hours. We were going nuts.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has filed an emergency rule, stating that all facilities like this must have working generators and the ability to keep comfortable temperatures for up to 96 hours after a storm. Facilities now have 60 days to comply with the rule.

“It should be faster, but just make them do it regardless,’ said Nazario, “because this is negligence of the highest level here.”

Another lawsuit is expected to be filed on Tuesday. It names the nursing home and Florida Power and Light.

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