Families left devastated after 8 die in Hollywood nursing home

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Devastated friends and family of the eight people who died at a Hollywood nursing home, are trying to piece together what happened, as a criminal investigation gets underway.

“We know one thing, is that our dad passed because of whatever happened there,” said Pedro Franco, whose father was living at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.

Franco spoke with 7News by phone, hours after finding out his 92-year-old father was dead.

He said he visited his father, Miguel Antonio Franco and his mother just last week, and they seemed fine. However, his dad is now gone and his mom, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, is in the hospital unable to tell them what went wrong.

“We don’t know,” said Franco. “This is something that could’ve been prevented.”

Several families are asking similar questions.

“I want to know what is going on with my sister,” said a woman.

Wednesday, chaos and confusion struck concerned family members, who came to check on their loved ones.

Three residents at the facility were found dead and five others died at the hospital.

“They’re looking for answers,” said Florida State Senator Gary Farmer, who’s been talking to the families of those who didn’t survive.

“Why weren’t precautions taken? Why weren’t there more power supplies provided, if there weren’t? Why weren’t people evacuated? We got a hospital right here for god sake,” added Farmer.

Many of the seniors were rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital after more than 150 of them were evacuated. At least a dozen are in need of serious care for respiratory distress, dehydration and heat-related issues.

“The air conditioner was not working,” said Norma Wingo, who visited her long-time friend Betty Hibberd at the center, Tuesday evening.

Eighty-four-year-old Hibberd took her last breath, Wednesday afternoon.

“We stayed with her for about four hours and then they decided they were going to take all the equipment off,” said Wingo, “and that was it. She was a wonderful, wonderful person.”

Several patients are still waking up in the hospital, Thursday morning.

Family members are now hoping new regulations will be put in place, that will require nursing homes to have generators on hand at all times.

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