In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, evidence came to light of 11 elderly patients in a nursing home who passed away during the devastation. Governor
Voldemort Rick Scott’s office had apparently given nursing homes in the state of Florida a direct number to call if they needed assistance — his personal cell phone, in fact.
When Irma hit on September 10th, power was lost to the transformer in The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, the nursing home in question, that controlled the air conditioning system. Life support systems were unaffected by the outage. According to ABC’s local affiliate, an investigation is underway into who exactly is to blame for the deaths of the patients, many of whom died in the suffocating heat without AC when the first transformer went out.
Employees at the nursing home say they availed themselves of that number they were given, and they were ignored. Natasha Anderson, the vice president of the care facility, says she left four voicemails pleading for “immediate assistance” from the governor’s office, all in the time before any of the patients died.
Now it appears the investigation will have to rely on the testimony of the governor’s aides, as all of the voicemails have been deleted. CBS Miami requested copies of the voicemails from the governor’s office, but got the following response from a spokeswoman via email:
The voicemails were not retained because the information from each voicemail was collected by the Governor’s staff and given to the proper agency for handling.”
Rick Scott himself claims not that he never got any calls, but that none of the calls indicated an immediate danger or crisis. If that were the case, one surmises that the voicemails, which existed and were requested at the beginning of the investigation, would have been turned over immediately. Instead, they are lost forever.
Pre-emptively, Governor Scott cut off the nursing home’s Medicare and Medicaid payments because of the deaths. But the facility claims that the governor is at fault for ignoring their cries.
Watch the CBS report here:
Featured image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images