There have already been headlines regarding the failures of nursing homes to protect patients in the wake of hurricane Irma. Everyone is quite aware of the plight of the people in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of hurricane Maria. It is, perhaps, the elderly and the disabled who are in the greatest danger as the LA Times reports.
Electricity. Gas. Food. Water. Puerto Ricans in the small coastal town of Lajas are in desperate need of all of these things. Many of the town’s residents are elderly and disabled and require care that is not being provided.
They are in need of electricity to power oxygen tanks, respirators, and to cool life-saving medication like insulin, which must be kept chilled. Many do not have these things, with some assisted living homes relying on generators to provide power for just 6 hours per day. If the air conditioners are turned on, it will break the generators.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent relief to Lajas. The shipment, which was picked up from a nearby town by police and returned to Lajas under guard, contained just 200 boxes of food and 786 24-bottle packs of water for the city’s 25,000 residents.
According to the local coroner, the death toll is over 100. Eight of these were elderly and one of those deaths was directly related to a shortage of medical supplies.
The Mayor of Lajas, Marcos Irizarry Pagán has arranged for one family with an elderly member and another family of three to stay in a hotel because the shelter could not provide for their needs. He has also been on the phone to FEMA, but says that the agency is not returning calls. The satellite phone that he uses to contact the agency is now being used to allow residents to contact concerned citizens on the U.S. mainland.
A low-income senior apartment complex relies on food provided to the shelter by FEMA. The complex lost electricity and running water on Saturday. They have enough gas to power their emergency generator until Thursday and enough medication for the residents to last a month.
Have you or a loved one been the victim of abuse or neglect while in a nursing facility? You may be entitled to compensation. Let the law offices of Schenk Smith fight to get you that compensation. Call us today.