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Expert: Coolers Made It Worse In Nursing Home Where 12 Died

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The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

An expert witness testified that portable coolers actually made things worse in a Florida nursing home where patients died without air conditioning during Hurricane Irma.

In testimony released late Thursday, an engineer hired by the state to evaluate the 12 deaths at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in September says the home required 125 tons of cooling capacity to keep residents safe. But the nine portable coolers only mustered about 15 tons.

The Miami Herald reports William Scott Crawford testified last month that the capacity of the spot coolers was "insufficient to cool the space in the patient areas." Much of the heat flowed toward the second floor, where temperatures spiked.

The testimony came during ongoing litigation over the loss of the nursing home's license to operate.