By Carey Codd

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Hollywood (CBSMiami) – Melek Elezaby was a patient at Hollywood Hills for three years when Hurricane Irma struck.

The attorney for the 86-year-old’s family says she suffered from Alzheimer’s but she was in good health and could walk.

But after the hurricane, the attorney says Elezaby became ill and died a little more than three weeks later.

Attorneys for Elezaby’s nephews filed a lawsuit in Broward County court Wednesday, “alleging that the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills failed to protect her and its residents by not having adequate air conditioning for them when the power went out… leaving patients to swelter in unbearable heat.”

The city of Hollywood has said that 14 other patients suffered and died in the days after Irma.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday says Elezaby experienced difficulty breathing and developed an irregular heartbeat.

She was finally transferred to a hospital after enduring several days in the awful conditions inside Hollywood Hills.

When she got to the hospital, she was diagnosed with pneumonia and died.

The Broward Medical Examiner ruled that hear death was from natural causes.

Albert Levin, the family’s attorney, disputes that.

“Look, I haven’t seen the autopsy report, but I know it when I see it. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and this woman died because of what she was exposed to in that nursing facility and we’re prepared to prove it,” he said.

In the wrongful death lawsuit, it says that Elezaby’s nephews were told before the hurricane that their aunt would not be evacuated because of Irma but they were assured that she would be safe.

They say that clearly did not happen.


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