MiamiHerald / A Republican state senator – and funeral director – is suggesting that a South Florida nursing home may not be to blame for 14 deaths that occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said Wednesday he isn’t convinced that all 14 deaths now associated with The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills stemmed from sweltering heat that filled the nursing home after it lost power following the powerful storm.

“Look at the population. You’re dealing with the 90-somethings. Some of these deaths would naturally occur, storm or no storm,” Baxley said Wednesday at the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, adding “eventually everyone who was in that nursing home will die. But we don’t need to attribute those all to the storm and bad policy.”

Baxley became one of the few politicians to take a different stance following the high-profile deaths at the South Florida nursing home. Many leaders, including Gov. Rick Scott, have sharply criticized the nursing home. A criminal investigation is underway.

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