Florida Governor Rick Scott has allegedly deleted several voicemails from concerned elderly citizens and employees at a nursing home, as reported by CBS Miami.
These voicemails came from a nursing home that experienced the worst of Hurricane Irma, with at least 11 patients dying from the ordeal. The air conditioning units lost power, according to authorities, and that is when patients began falling ill and dying.
Governor Scott deleted at least four voicemail messages, according to The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.
According to Natasha Anderson, a vice president at the nursing home, the calls to the governor’s cellphone were marked as urgent and she said she needed “immediate assistance” in order to restore power to their air conditioning system, which was damaged during the brutal storm.
Governor Scott denies that the voicemails indicated a pending crisis, saying that they did not make it seem as if patients were in danger, according to CBS Miami.
Various news agencies have attempted to obtain copies of the deleted voicemails, but were met with the same response from the governor’s office, as reported by The Hill.
“The voicemails were not retained because the information from each voicemail was collected by the Governor’s staff and given to the proper agency for handling,” the response read.
The governor’s office also said the voicemails were deleted in accordance with the state’s public records law.
Governor Scott and his team have even tried to pin the blame on the nursing home itself, claiming they should have been evacuating patients instead of worrying about the air conditioning system.
“None of this changes the fact that this facility chose not to call 911 or evacuate their patients to the hospital across the street to save lives,” a spokeswoman noted.
As a sort of retaliation against the nursing home, the governor cut off its Medicaid and Medicare funding and suspended its license.
“Let’s be clear – this facility is located across the street from one of Florida’s largest hospitals, which never lost power and had fully operating facilities,” DOH spokeswoman Mara Gambineri said. “It is 100 percent the responsibility of health care professionals to preserve life by acting in the best interest of the health and well-being of their patients.”
State officials say temperatures inside the nursing home reached 109 degrees after power to the air conditioning units were knocked out, which was the impetus for many of the deaths.
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