Nurses Charged with Manslaughter



FILE PHOTO: Police tape surrounds the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, Florida, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

Araby Scott, Contributor

Four rehabilitation center employees in Florida have been charged with a dozen counts of manslaughter. According to jail-records, former rehabilitation nurse, Sergo Colin and past-administrator Jorge Carballo, have both been charged with twelve-counts of aggravated manslaughter. Althia Meggie, a nurse who also worked at the rehabilitation center, has been charged with two counts of  aggravated manslaughter and two counts of tampering of evidence. All three turned themselves in at the Broward County Jail. The fourth person being charged, nurse Tamika Miller is currently in the Miami-Dade County jail on unknown charges, awaiting transfer to Broward County Jail.

On September tenth, 2017 hurricane Irma hit the south of Florida. Due to the hurricane, a nursing home in Fort Lauderdale lost power around three p.m. The nursing home had two power transformers in place, one supplied power to medical equipment, and the other gave power to the air conditioning. The storm knocked out the transformer that powered the air conditioning system. The employees of the nursing home called Florida Power and Light at 3:49 p.m with a request to supply the nursing home with emergency power. Florida Power and Light told the employees that they would send a crew to fix the power the next morning. Upon further investigation it was uncovered that Florida Power and Light put the nursing home on low priority and they would not have received power for quite some time after the initial call.

According to Jim Cobb, Jorge Caballo’s attorney, Caballo told his employees prior to the storm that they could call the governor. The governor at the time, Rick Scott, supplied emergency numbers to contact. The workers called the number, and it went to voicemail. Due to the negligent governor, attorney Lawrence Hashish, believes that, “the real crime is that the state is looking to blame selfless caregivers and the evidence will show that no crime was committed.” However, the former governor and now U.S senator Rick Scott remarked, “Nothing can hide the fact that this healthcare facility failed to do their basic duty to protect life.” Adding to the conversation, Attorney David Frankel believes that the staff did everything they could to keep the patients cool and hydrated. He went on further t0 say that the employees kept the patients hydrated and some even brought in fans for the patients.

Investigators and family members of the twelve victims, wondered why the staff chose not send people to the Memorial Regional Hospital. The hospital was right across the street form the nursing home and was fully air-conditioned. Frankel commented on this; “These were very fragile people, evacuating them could have caused more damage.” Florida Power and Light also issued a statement; “those customers who have electricity dependent medical needs should call 911 if they are without power and in a life-threatening situation.”

On September 13, 2017, four residents died, another four died during the evacuation, the other four died in throughout the following weeks. After the incident Florida state revoked the rehabilitation center’s nursing licence.