Are nursing home deaths amid a power outage manslaughter? Florida court to decide

A Florida nursing home administrator is on trial for the overheating deaths of nine patients after Hurricane Irma in 2017 in what his attorney calls a "scapegoat" case, ABC News reported Feb. 6.

The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood (Calif.) Hills lost power to the air conditioning amid the heat following Hurricane Irma in 2017, resulting in the death of 12 patients.

Jorge Carballo is being charged with manslaughter of nine patients and could face 15 years in prison for allegedly failing to give adequate directions to his staff after power to the facility's air-conditioning system was lost, and failing to order his patients' evacuation to the hospital across the street.

Prosecutors must prove Mr. Carballo acted recklessly and showed gross and careless disregard for his patients' safety.

Mr. Carballo's attorney, James Cobb, said during the trial that Mr. Carballo is not at fault. Mr. Cobb added that Mr. Carballo reported the power issue to Florida Power & Light immediately after it happened and several more times over the next two days. After no response from the power company, Mr. Carballo allegedly called then-Gov. Rick Scott, county and city government leaders for assistance, but no help came, according to the report. The company did not send a crew until news reports emerged about patients dying, and tThe problem took 10 minutes to fix, Mr. Cobb said. 

Mr. Cobb also said Mr. Carballo was following published research that showed moving frail, elderly patients came with a high risk of death. 

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