The dramatic photo of residents of an assisted living facility in Dickinson, Texas, sitting in waist-deep water while waiting to be evacuated is one of the most widely shared photos of Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath. While many were quick to pass judgment on the facility owner, health care attorney Bill Hopkins of the Austin office of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, says she should be commended for her actions.
Similar to what we saw with Hurricane Katrina, there is not a lot that an assisted living facility can do in these circumstances. With elderly residents who are fragile and frequently equipment-dependent, you cannot simply load them in cars or vans and move them somewhere easily, says Mr. Hopkins. In fact, studies have shown that sometimes attempting to relocate these residents in an emergency situation can result in stress-related incidents such as heart attacks and strokes.
Reports indicate that the owner tried her best to get help and support, but was told that help was not readily available. Luckily for these residents, she did not take no for an answer and thought outside the box to get her people to safety. Rather than second-guessing her decision, she should be applauded for doing what was necessary to get her people safe.
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