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Florida nursing home employees surrender to face charges in deaths of patients during hurricane

Florida nursing home employees surrender to face charges in deaths of patients during hurricane

Employees of a nursing home where at least 12 patients died in 2017 during a power outage caused by Hurricane Irma have reportedly turned themselves in to police to face charges. 

Their lawyers, Jim Cobb and Lawrence Hashish, told The Associated Press that they did not know what charges the three employees would face but they expected it to be manslaughter.

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The AP reported that former nursing home administrator Jorge Carballo and two nurses whose names were not released turned themselves in Monday.

The lawyers told the wire service that their clients waited for hours before being admitted to the jail because Hollywood, Fla., police hadn't filed arrest warrants. 

The Hill has reached out to the Hollywood Police Department for comment. 

Patients of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died after the center did not evacuate patients despite rising temperatures during the power outage.

The Associated Press reported that 12 patients died, although Hollywood Police told The Hill in 2017 that 14 people had died.

Cobb the AP that the employees did not understand why they faced charges, as Carballo and other administrators had been told they could call then-Gov. Rick Scott's (R) phone for assistance. Cobb said they tried five times, but did not receive a response. 

“The real crime is that the state is looking to blame selfless caregivers and the evidence will show that no crime was committed,” Hashish said. 

Scott, who now represents the state as a senator, released a statement Monday saying the staff should have called 911. 

 “I’m glad these individuals are being held accountable after their inexplicable failure to call 911 when people were in need," he said. “Nothing can hide the fact that this healthcare facility failed to do their basic duty to protect life.”