In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, 93-year-old Miguel Franco was among the eight rehab center residents who died on September 13 after the facility lost its air conditioning and turned into a sweltering death trap, according to state authorities.
The medical examiner's office said that because Biamonte's symptoms were similar to the other patients who had died, she's being included in the death toll from the incident. Florida is the country's closest American neighbor and, despite being hit by its own hurricane when Hurricane Irma made landfall in the USA earlier this month, Florida officials remained confident they would be able to help Puerto Rico move on from Maria.
Patients were treated for respiratory distress and heat-related complications at the. A naked patient was slumped over, apparently in an attempt to stay cool. Some patients' temperatures reportedly climbed to almost 110 degrees. At no time did the facility report that the safety of its patients was at risk.
As the crisis unfolded, patients were evacuated and the finger-pointing began.
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Rick Scott traveled to Washington, D.C. Friday to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House to discuss the governor's trip to Puerto Rico and the Hurricane Irma recovery efforts in Florida. Hollywood Hills, however, says it notified the governor's office in a series of phone calls as soon as the air conditioning went out.
Criminal investigations have commenced, and the facility's license to operate has been suspended by the state of Florida, also leaving them unable to receive reimbursement payments from Medicaid. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was investigating what led to the deaths.
Earlier this week, Scott said Florida stood "willing and ready" to help the people of Puerto Rico in any way possible. He said that, for him, it speaks to the level of neglect at the facility and how brutally these people were treated. He said he is pleased to see in these search warrants the level of detail and accountability that police are seeking in this case.