Reform needed for care centers. Published in Fort Myers News-Press 10/1/17

Loss of one life from the predictable consequences of Hurricane Irma is unfortunate. Loss of 10 lives and counting, of our most vulnerable citizens, is inexcusable and reckless.

The tragic events taking place following power outages at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills could have been avoided with basic planning and coordination. We live in a geographical area that dedicates an entire season to hurricanes; loss of electrical power is common knowledge.

Where was the plan and execution of strategy to maintain the safety of 152 elderly residents? Despite promising “loving care and companionship” and safe shelter, the Center abandoned its most basic responsibility-safety!

The failures of this center are the result of failed Florida leadership. The center was permitted to function at the lowest possible threshold of care with laws passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor.

Where was the coordination by FPL, our utility monopoly, in restoring power?

As a community, we need to do better. We must protect the precious assets that are the elderly and not allow Tallahassee politics and disregard for humanity to jeopardize the well-being of our citizens.

Eugene Pettis is an attorney with Haliczer, Pettis & Schwamm and represents Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills resident Edna Jefferson.