Nurses testify in trial of former Hollywood nursing home administrator charged with manslaughter

12 patients died following A/C outage in 2017 due to Hurricane Irma

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A nurse who had only been working at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills for two weeks in 2017 when 12 patients died was the first to testify Wednesday in the manslaughter trial of the former nursing home administrator.

The nurse and former co-defendant, Sergo Colin, had more than 12 years’ experience at the time.

On his shift following an air conditioning outage due to Hurricane Irma, he experienced the heat and five EMS calls in just the span of three hours, he said.

According to Colin, administrator Jorge Carballo wasn’t present when police arrived.

Colin gave a detailed account of how the Hollywood nursing home he worked at lost air conditioning and multiple patients had to be transported to the emergency room at Memorial Regional Hospital.

The outage came in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017 and led to the deaths of 12 patients.

“Had you ever been in a situation where five EMS calls were made within a four-hour period?” a prosecutor asked Colin.

“No,” he responded.

Charges were dropped against Colin, along with two other nurses after state prosecutors said the blame lied solely with Carballo.

Colin said he gave police officers Carballo’s phone number, as Carballo wasn’t present when officers asked to speak with the person in charge after several people began falling ill.

“Is he responsible for the medical care of the patients?” Carballo’s defense attorney asked Colin.

“He would not be because he is not a physician. He is an administrator,” Colin said.

Colin testified that in the days prior to an evacuation ordered by law enforcement, the cooling system was disabled and some patients had been transported out.

One of the other nurses who charges were dropped against was Tamika Miller.

Miller said she worked for the center for three months and that she new something was wrong and complained to Colin when the heat became unbearable.

She was asked if it ever crossed her mind to move the patients out of the heat.

“At that time it wasn’t me who made the call, it was the fire rescue,” she said.

Carballo has been criticized for not moving patients across the street to Memorial Regional Medical Center where there was A/C.

He now faces nine counts of aggravated manslaughter.

Another nurse, Tamika Miller, took the stand after Colin.

Local 10 News reporter Roy Ramos will have an update on the latest developments in the trial later Wednesday afternoon.

About the Authors:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for