12th resident of Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills dies

Dolores Biamonte, 57, becomes youngest victim of stifling nursing home to die

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - A 12th resident of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills has died, according to the Broward County medical examiner.

Hollywood police said Dolores Biamonte, 57, died Thursday.

Biamonte is the youngest resident to die after the air conditioning stopped working in the days after Hurricane Irma.

Dolores Biamonte

The Agency for Health Care Administration has suspended the license of the facility.

According to the suspension order, residents at the facility had body temperatures of more than 100 degrees when they arrived at Memorial Regional Hospital, across the street from the nursing home.

Justin Senior, secretary for the state agency, wrote in the order that the facility also made many "late entries" into patients' medical records, claiming that the entries were made "under dubious circumstances" hours after a nurse visited the patients.

Nursing home administrator Jorge Carballo blamed the incident on "a prolonged power failure to the transformer which powered the facility's air-conditioning system as a result of the hurricane."

Several lawsuits have been filed against the facility by relatives of the victims.

The Biamonte family has also hired an attorney.

"This tragedy was not only avoidable, but was foreseeable as Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation had over a week to prepare and create a plan to relocate and protect all of its residents prior to Hurricane Irma's arrival," attorney Sean J. Greene said in a news release. "This crime was totally preventable, but Hollywood Hills put profits before the safety of their residents, which led to this unimaginable turn of events."

Margaret Stapleton, spokeswoman for the Broward County medical examiner's office, said the causes of all the deaths have yet to be determined.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, has called for a Senate Committee investigation into the deaths of the nursing home residents. 

"It is my understanding that it is the state's responsibility to certify a nursing home's compliance with all federal emergency preparedness regulations in order to receive federal payments under the Medicare and Medicaid programs," Nelson wrote in a letter to Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ron Wyden, D-Oregon -- the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. "And to receive a state's certification, current federal regulations require skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities to develop and maintain an adequate emergency plan that is reviewed at least annually by the state." 

Click here to read Nelson's full letter. 

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