Judge rejects regulations on generators after deaths in Florida homes

A judge ruled today against the decree of the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, that forces to install electric generators in geriatric centers to guarantee the energy supply in case of hurricane blackouts.

Judge Garnett Chisenhall ruled in favor of groups in the health sector that challenged those rules decreed last month after the death of about a dozen people in a Hollywood home subjected to high temperatures due to lack of air conditioning.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities argued that these norms, which require to guarantee the operation of generators during four days, were not sensible because they had to be installed before next November 15.

Judge Chisenhall found them right in pointing out that the measure is not “realistic” and ruled that the state exceeded its authority with emergency rules.

McKinley Lewis, a spokesman for Scott, said for his part that they will appeal the ruling and showed his “disappointment” with the decision, calling it “myopic against the protection of lives and elderly Floridians.”

“This decision contrasts with the favorable ruling issued last week by the First District Court of Appeals that said these rules were justified by the emergency circumstances,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

A total of 14 elders, aged 70 to 96, from the Rehabilitation Center in Hollywood Hills, north of Miami, died due to the high temperatures they endured after Irma passed through Florida on September 10, which caused blackouts of at least a week.

These patients “ended up in the hospital with temperatures that exceeded 41 degrees Celsius, too late to be saved”, argued the Agency for the Administration of Health Services (AHCA, in English) of Florida to close last September the license of the place .

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