Family files lawsuit after nursing home death
Evelyn Bornstein, 96, appeared to be in good spirits before Hurricane Irma struck last year. But four days later, she was dead, and her son says her West Palm Beach nursing home, which lacked a generator to aircondition the facility properly in a power outage, is to blame.
The son, Howard Bornstein, filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court on Friday against the home, Darcy Hall of Life Care. While Evelyn Bornstein’s room lacked air conditioning, temperatures outside hovered above 90 degrees, and Bornstein’s temperature before her death hit
103.7, the lawsuit said. Darcy Hall, and most of the state of Florida, lost power after Hurricane Irma, which struck on Sept.
10, 2017. Ninety percent of Florida Power & Light’s customers were without electricity.
The storm revealed how several Florida nursing homes lacked back-up systems to keep residents cool in dire emergencies. In the most dramatic case, the outages are believed to have contributed to the deaths of 12 senior citizens at the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center in Broward County.
The death of Bornstein is the first publicized case of a Palm Beach County senior who may have died at a nursing home from the postIrma heat.
Bornstein had fractured her left femur on July 8, 2017. She also had urinary tract infections and dementia, according to her son. After staying in the hospital four days for the fracture, she returned to Darcy Hall, where she had lived for three and a half years, and was getting extra care from the nursing home staff as well as hospice staff who checked in on her periodically.
Despite her frail condition, her son, who lives five minutes from Darcy Hall, said she was making jokes about the impending hurricane when he visited her on Sept. 8. He said the staff assured him they were ready for Irma, and he felt confident his mother was stable: A hospice nurse reported on Sept. 7 that Bornstein showed no signs of distress, said her son’s attorney, Scott Fischer.
Howard Bornstein, 60, said he wishes the nursing home had contacted him to tell him of his mother’s impending death.
“If they would have called, they would have done right,” he said.