Politics / Press Releases

AMAC Calls on Federal Government to Join Florida Investigations of Seniors’ Deaths After Hurricane Irma

capitol flag seniors governmentLeading seniors organization AMAC: “This was an avoidable tragedy that must lead to reassessment of disaster priorities”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At least six elderly people died Wednesday at a South Florida nursing home that had no air conditioning due to power outages after Hurricane Irma. A second, dramatic last-minute evacuation took place at a nursing home in North Miami Beach due to dangerous temperatures and a lack of electricity. Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that he is launching two state investigations into the deaths.

Dan Weber, founder and CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), sent the following letter to FEMA Administrator William Long calling on the federal agency to offer any and all assistance in the investigations and, if necessary, conduct an investigation of its own:

Dear Administrator Long,

Following the wrongful deaths of six senior citizens in a Hollywood Hills nursing home, and the dramatic, last-minute evacuation of a second nursing home in North Miami Beach due to dangerous temperatures and a lack electricity, we strongly urge that an official federal inquiry be launched to investigate why senior citizens are dying and at risk in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

We understand Florida Governor Rick Scott has announced two state investigations through the Florida Department of Children and Families, and the Agency for Health Care Administration. We urge FEMA to assist in state’s investigations in every way possible.

Our organization, which represents millions of seniors, has no doubt that our first responders are working very hard to ease the burdens this catastrophe has placed on Florida’s citizens.  At the same time, we must make sure that the safety of our most vulnerable citizens remain a top priority. We know you share these concerns, and we urge you to act to make sure they are promptly and fully addressed.

It is unconscionable that in the 21st century and in Florida — a state where one in five people are 65 and older — America’s seniors are still apparently not given priority after natural disasters, especially in the wake of one as significant and highly-anticipated as Hurricane Irma.  Six seniors are now dead from having been in a place that was allegedly designed specifically for their care and protection. This appears to have been an entirely avoidable tragedy.

Senior citizens, who are among the most susceptible to the myriad dangers presented by the elements, must be a top priority for our first responders and care providers. But more broadly, this a moment that must be used to consider and appreciate the sacrifices and contributions senior citizens have made to ensure that America is the incredible country we all enjoy today.

We therefore urge an full and thorough investigation into this situation by the appropriate federal agencies.

Sincerely,

Dan Weber

 

For more information on AMAC: Dan Weber is the CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), the largest conservative due-paying member association in the United States with a membership of over one million seniors. Weber founded the organization in 2007 as an alternative to AARP.

 

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To schedule an interview with Dan Weber, please contact Tyler Bryant at [email protected] or (703) 490-8845.

 


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Ed J
4 years ago

This incident is heartbreaking. But when you consider other recent incidents, like the picture of elderly women sitting in wheelchairs in their nursing home in Houston with flood waters up to their wastes, it shows a different attitude and priority of local government officials.
Did the Mayor of Broward County and Hollywood, FL have electricity and air conditioning? Did she have it at her home, as well as her office? Did the Mayor of Houston not have water in his home and office?
I understand the electric utility repair folks can only repair electrical outages in sequence, the same with draining flood waters. But did no one think they needed to get the elderly out of harm’s way and into facilities that had A/C and were dry? Local governments are charged with protecting human life within their jurisdiction, that means all human life. It means setting up priorities to rescue those in the most danger first, and not assuring government officials and offices are fully operational and properly staffed before they do anything for the people. An Emergency Operations Center can be run out of the back of a truck or bus. The basics you need are communication systems, mobile phones and radios, pencils and paper, and most important decision makers. Most communities have a Mobile Command Post, or at least access to one. You don’t need slide projectors or computer internet connections and constant briefings or updates. You don’t need tables surrounded by comfortable chairs. You can call the NWS and other agencies for updates, then write it down to give to the decision maker.
The tragedies in Houston and Hollywood did not have to happen, had the right people made the right decisions. I place these tragedies at the feet of local officials who could not handle the job at hand. Some coordination with state and federal officials may have made a difference here.
I support the federal government looking into these tragedies, then turning evidence over to federal or state prosecutors. I hope the people effected the most by these tragedies remember this during the next election.

dale hurley
4 years ago

don’t need no stinkin criminal investigation. just let emergency management officials sit and discuss policy.

Ed J
4 years ago
Reply to  dale hurley

That is what caused this tragedy.

dale hurley
4 years ago
Reply to  Ed J

maybe you’re all only familiar with discussions that revolve around the nba draft and entertainment tonight.

John Schoepf
4 years ago

We already have enough Federal meddling in State activities. They have NO BUsiness in this. Let the State handle it.

Ivan Berry
4 years ago
Reply to  John Schoepf

Yes, John, and the first question that comes to mind is, “Where were those loving family members and friends of these elderly?”
Weather often presents more trouble than any State or Federal agency can handle. Sometimes it bigger than all of us, and jumping on the fault band wagon is a collectivists’ ill and should not be the response of a Constitutionally oriented government nor of a so-called conservative organization.

PaulE
4 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Ivan,

To answer your question, I’ve seen many elderly people dropped off at a nursing home and that is their last time those”loving family members and friends” are ever seen. Sure there are many families that actually do come by regularly to check on their elderly family members and to spend quality time. However, that is far from the norm from my several years of experience in watching what goes on in a number of nursing homes. I would suspect those elderly patients who died didn’t get regular visits from family members or friends who ensured they were getting the best or even adequate care. Those patients that are known to have frequent visits from family and friends are always given a higher priority from management, as the nursing home knows their families can and will make a lot of trouble for them of anything happens to that elderly family member.

Marilynn
4 years ago
Reply to  John Schoepf

Apparently the State did nothing about the inadequate service this home offered. The company was cited for infractions that endangered the residents. These old people suffered and died under the States care.

PaulE
4 years ago

The FBI has already sent some agents to assist state authorities in this investigation. If there is any evidence that warrants criminal prosecution, I am sure both state and federal charges will be filed.

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