Four South Florida Nursing Home Workers Charged for Resident Deaths After Hurricane
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 31, 2019 – Four former workers at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, were charged in connection with the heat-related deaths of nine elderly residents after a hurricane caused a power outage at the facility. Although a total of 12 people died, state prosecutors found there was not enough evidence to prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt for three of the residents’ deaths.
Elderly patients at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills started dying amid extreme heat three days after Hurricane Irma knocked out power to the facility’s air conditioning system in September 2017. Authorities said some of the deceased individuals had body temperatures of more than 109 degrees.
Nine counts of aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person or disabled adult were announced against the nursing home’s chief administrator Jorge Carballo, 61, and supervisor Sergo Colin, 45. Two nurses who were on duty at the time are also facing manslaughter charges.
“It is important to hold the nursing home and its staff accountable for their wrongdoing,” commented Robert Joyce, a Tampa personal injury attorney with Joyce & Reyes, who was not involved with the case. “The people charged in this case appear to have failed in their duty to protect the residents and provide them with vital care when they needed it the most. Part of their responsibilities include responding to a patient’s complaints, no matter how big or small.”
Authorities listed two counts of tampering with evidence and two counts of aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person or disabled adult against 36-year-old Althia Meggie. Registered nurse Meggie was accused of making notes on two patients’ medical records that falsely claimed they were in stable condition. Former licensed practical nurse Tamika Miller, 31, is facing the same charges.
According to a 14-page affidavit, detectives conducted extensive investigations to gather evidence for their case that included surveillance footage, medical records and more than 50 computer hard drives. They also obtained around 500 interviews and statements from patients’ family members, medical professionals and paramedics, among others.
Aggravated manslaughter carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. The tampering with evidence charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills is currently closed. The facility is appealing the state’s decision to revoke its license after the hurricane.
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