911 calls from Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills detail chaos before deaths

“She’s not breathing.” “Her fingers started to change color.” “They’re doing CPR now.”

These are some of the messages relayed in a series of eight 911 calls obtained the by the Herald that draw a detailed narrative of the chaos that ensued inside the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills from Sept. 10 — when Irma made landfall in Florida — to Sept. 13. During those three days, the nursing home lost power to its air conditioning unit, after which eight residents died Sept. 13. Six have died since.

The Herald and the Sun-Sentinel received the calls Monday after they filed a lawsuit against the city of Hollywood after it refused to release the audio of all 911 calls made from the center on Sept. 13, including calls at 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. that resulted in the fire-rescue response. No dates or times are provided with the calls.

In the first call, a nurse tells the 911 operator that an 81-year-old woman is having respiratory issues. The side door isn’t working. In the second call, a 93-year-old man is having difficulty breathing. He’s not completely alert. In the line of calls, more instances of cardiac arrest, respiratory issues and breathing trouble follow.

In one call, a woman struggles with the computer for minutes as she tries to tell 911 how old the resident is. Some of the calls are riddled with static.

In the last call, which appears to have been made to fire-rescue by the Broward Emergency Operations Center, a staff member tells the operator of receiving a call about multiple patients and possible deaths.

“We’re not 100 percent positive of the situation, but that’s what we’ve been informed,” he said. “The call that came in was a little daunting.”

The Broward medical examiner has yet to state an official cause of death for any of the 14 victims. More than 140 residents were evacuated to Memorial Regional Hospital, just steps away from the nursing home at 1200 N. 35th Ave.

The nursing home and rehabilitation center is now a homicide investigation crime scene after the state revoked the facility’s license on Sept. 20 and the home laid off all 245 workers the same day. Federal regulators said last Thursday they are cutting off Medicare funding for the nursing home.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also imposed a penalty of $20,965 a day for the three days that the home lost power to its air conditioning unit.