911 releases calls from Hollywood rehab center where 14 patients died

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Officials have released the 911 calls that captured the chaos at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills where 14 people died from heat-induced injuries.

The nursing home lost power during Hurricane Irma, leaving patients suffering inside the hot facility. That’s when workers called 911 in the morning hours of Sept. 13.

At first, the calls were calm, but they later began sounding desperate for help.

One caller dialed 911 because of a patient’s condition. “I’m calling because there’s a patient who’s in cardiac arrest,” she said.

The calls came in one after another, beginning at 3 a.m.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the nursing home’s air conditioning had been off for three days. The heat took its toll on the elderly patients.

Only one caller mentioned the air conditioning to 911 operators.

“The patient is … (unintelligible) she’s a COPD patient. I just noticed, because we don’t have any air condition, so I saw her slouch over. I realized that she’s not breathing, so I check her, she’s just barely breathing and her fingers are around her mouth are slightly cyanotic, and her fingers started to change colors, you know, slightly blue,” one caller said.

There was also some confusion during the calls.

“Can you tell me the address, please, somebody? Can you hear me? Hello?” a caller can be heard yelling.

When asked the age of a patient, one caller replied, “Trying to find her paperwork. The computer is slow. Ooh, what a night.”

An employee at the Broward County Emergency Operations Center also called 911. “They’re saying that they’re having issues with patients and there may be casualties,” he said. “They’re requesting ambulance assistance, can I give you the address?”

Fourteen people ultimately died and 140 people were evacuated from the rehabilitation center.

The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills was later shut down by the state.

Officials are still investigating this incident.

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