Dead woman billed on 100th birthday by Florida nursing home

Erika Pesantes, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Weather News

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Even though Albertina Vega is dead and the sweltering nursing home where she died is shut down, the facility still billed her on what would have been her 100th birthday.

Vega, 99, was one of 14 deceased residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills where the central air conditioning failed during Hurricane Irma.

Carmen Fernandez, the wife of Vega's cousin, said she went to the bank to close Vega's account only to learn there was no money in it. Instead, there was an automatic payment of $958 to Hollywood Hills that resulted in an overdraft fee.

The shock of it was magnified by the fact that the payment was posted on Oct. 10, the day Vega would have become a centenarian had she not perished in the stifling nursing home.

"How are they going to charge a dead person?" Fernandez said, in disbelief. "How is she going to pay that?"

"I was enraged. They let her die and then they bill her," she said. "This was someone who was like a mother to me."

Fernandez is still trying to recover the money but could not reach the Hollywood, Florida, nursing home in recent days, she said.

Relatives -- some flying in from as far as California -- had planned to celebrate Vega's birthday by toasting with her favorite Manhattan cocktail.

Instead Fernandez walked over to the memorial of poster boards and ceramic angels for each dead nursing home resident lined up in front of the facility.

She placed a plastic cup filled with a Manhattan cocktail among the angels and sprinkled the drink on the memorial. She left flowers too.


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