Criminal probe opens into eight deaths at Florida nursing home after Irma

admin   •   September 14, 2017   •   2594

Police tape surrounds the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, Florida U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Eight elderly patients died on Wednesday after being left inside a stifling South Florida nursing home that lost power during Hurricane Irma.

The incident prompted a criminal investigation as it added a tragic new dimension to mounting loss of life from the storm.

“This is very tragic. It’s very sad. Many of us have loved ones and assisted living facilities and we expect that care to be there for those people. And so that’s why, right from the onset, we took the initial step, we immediately started a criminal investigation into this matter and made sure that everyone was evacuated and we took control of the entire building immediately thereafter,” said Florida Police chief Tomas Sanchez.

Officials continued to assess the damage inflicted by Irma with the overall death toll from Irma climbed to 81 on Wednesday.

More than half of the number was recorded in the Caribbean.

The power losses from the storm had fatal consequences at the rehabilitation center at Hollywood Hills, a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, north of Miami.

Three elderly residents were found dead on Wednesday inside the sweltering facility, which had been left without air conditioning, officials said.

Five more patients from the nursing home later died at a nearby hospital, they said. — Reuters

 

 

 

Elderly PUV drivers appeal to be allowed to resume driving despite age

Marje Pelayo   •   June 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Buses, modern jeepneys, and UV Express units will be allowed to ply on major roads starting June 22 on the condition of limited passenger capacity and under strict social distancing protocols. 

But based on the guidelines issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), elderly drivers of public utility vehicles (PUV) or senior citizens are still not allowed to go back to driving as they are part of the vulnerable sector who are prone to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.

This was what the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) said in Resolution No. 28 issued on April 23 saying that the elderly or senior citizens are among the high-risk individuals.

But some drivers appealed to the government to allow them to go back to their job, especially those who are fit to drive like Alberto Manuel Jr. 

Manuel said he can still drive at his age of 76 and being a jeepney driver has been his ‘bread and butter’ for almost 56 years now. 

“Ang lisensya ko sa 2023 pa mag-expire. Pagdating ng 2023 ang edad ng lisensya ko 59 years na, mag-si-senior citizen na rin[ My license will expire in 2023. Come 2023, my license will be 59 years old, close to being a senior citizen as well],” Manuel said.

“Malakas pa naman ako. Malinaw pa ang mata ko [I’m still strong. My vision is still clear], he added.

Also an elderly, Allan Ocampo has been a jeepney driver for 30 years now. 

He is a member of ‘Barcads,’ a group of UV Express drivers in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Ocampo said the government should take into consideration the condition of senior citizens who are still able to drive as this is their only source of income. 

Sa akin hangga’t malakas kahit senior na [For me, (I can still work) as long as I’m strong despite being a senior citizen],” Ocampo said.

“Parang inaalisan na nila ng karapatan ang isang tao, ang isang senior na gusto pang magtrabaho [It’s like they have taken away the rights of a person, the rights of an elderly who still wants to earn a living],” added Carlito Tumbaga who is also a senior citizen.

Meanwhile, the UNTV News team has sought the LTFRB’s side on the issue but the agency has no reply as of this writing. MNP (with reports from Dante Amento)

IATF: Selected senior citizens allowed to go out under ECQ, GCQ

Marje Pelayo   •   May 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The national government has further relaxed quarantine measures to consider selected senior citizens after several advocates pitched for them in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ) starting May 1.

Initially, the Omnibus Guidelines on the implementation of GCQ restricted senior citizens from going out especially those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity and other pre-existing conditions which make them high risks for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection. 

But following discussions, IATF and Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said the government is allowing older people, or those 60 years old and above, to go out for essential work in authorized sectors, for medical consultations and for buying essential goods.

“Hindi po kayo pinipigilan, basta po allowed na ang inyong trabaho. Puwede po kayong mag-trabaho mga seniors [You are not being restricted as long as your sector is allowed to operate. Senior citizens are allowed to work],” Roque explained.

Several lawmakers aired concerns regarding senior citizens who are still able to go to work or those who own and manage their own business which requires outdoor transactions. 

In a follow-up interview with UNTV Serbisyong Kasangbahay on Friday (May 1), Roque reiterated that elder citizens who are fit and authorized may go out provided that they have the necessary passes.

Fake news po iyan na pinagbabawalan ang lahat ng senior [It’s not true that senior citizens are restricted from going out],” Roque said.

Roque cited as example the composition of the national government where most officials are senior citizens including President Rodrigo Duterte, the members of his Cabinet and the officials of the IATF. 

He said even under the ECQ, senior citizens may still go out. 

Kahit walang kasama ang seniors para kumuha ng kanilang essentials pwede silang lumabas [They may go out to get what they need even without a companion],” he stressed provided that the senior citizen has an authorized quarantine pass.

Kapag may trabaho, ipakita lang po ang kanilang work ID, wala namang problema doon, [If the senior citizen has work or is employed, just present their work ID, that’s not a problem],” the official concluded. MNP (With inputs from Rosalie Coz)

PH healthcare workers positive for COVID-19 now at 1,062; death toll at 26

Marje Pelayo   •   April 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is taking its toll on the Philippine healthcare system, according to the latest report by the Department of Health (DOH).

As of Wednesday (April 22), a total of 1,062 frontline workers have been confirmed positive for COVID-19:

  • 422 Doctors
  • 386 Nurses
  • 30 Medical technologists
  • 21 Radiologic technologists
  • 51 Nursing assistants
  • 152 Other Services i.e. Administration and Barangay healthcare workers

Of the said number, 26 medical workers succumbed to the disease, 19 were doctors or physicians.

Taos puso po kaming nakikiramay sa ating 26 na health workers na pumanaw dahil sa COVID-19 (We deeply express our condolences to the [families] of our 26 health workers who succumbed to COVID-19),” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual presser.

This figure, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is alarming and the agency expresses concern over the increasing infection rate of COVID-19 among the country’s frontline health workers as compared to other countries in the Western Pacific Region.

“The trend we are seeing in the Philippines, where the percentage is about 13%, is worrisome,” said Dr. Adbi Mahamud, WHO-Western Pacific Region COVID-19 Incident manager.

“In our region, it is around 2-3%. The Philippines is a bit of an outlier,” he said in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday (April 21).

For its part, the DOH said it is willing to cooperate with any investigation that the international health body will undertake to check if there are lapses in terms of infection control among health facilities in the country which increase the number of healthcare workers contacting the disease.  

But Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he still needs to verify with WHO regarding the report.

“I also read in the news today that WHO did issue this report of a relatively high rate of infection among our healthworkers and frontliners but I need to validate this report,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said. MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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