Wrongful death lawsuit filed by family of Florida nursing home resident who died after Hurricane Irma

The family of Miguel Antonio Franco has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the south Florida nursing home where he and 10 other elderly residents died after Hurricane Irma. The hurricane struck on September 10 leaving the facility without air conditioning for days.

The lawsuit claims that The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills failed to provide proper air conditioning, causing residents to endure high temperatures after electrical power was lost. The complaint also alleges that the facility failed to call for emergency assistance. The family claims that Miguel Franco’s wife, Cecilia Franco, also did not receive proper care. She was hospitalized in serious condition, but survived, the family said. Miguel Franco was 93 and Cecilia Franco is 90.

Facility officials say they took steps to provide cooling devices and maintained constant contact with local and state authorities.

The family of Miguel Franco said that his death was preventable, and the facility should have called 911. The Hollywood Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation, and other probes are underway by federal and state agencies.

The lawsuit states that the nursing home lost power after the hurricane hit on September 10, and the facility did not have backup generators to keep the building cool. According to the complaint, nursing home staff failed to evacuate patients to the hospital across the street, but instead wheeled several residents into the hallway, undressing some of them. At 1:30 a.m. on September 13, a 911 call was placed after a resident went into cardiac distress, and over the next few hours, two other calls were made to 911. The office of Gov. Rick Scott said the calls came too late. State and city officials say they advised the facility to call 911 if the safety or health of the residents was at risk.