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Story highlights

Family files lawsuit, claiming nursing home negligent, failed to act properly

Deaths of nursing home patients is being investigated by Florida officials

(CNN) —  

Erika Navarro said she had been on FaceTime with her grandfather, Miguel Antonio Franco, on September 5 – his 93rd birthday. Navarro, her grandfather and her mother had birthdays a few days apart and a joint party was in the works.

“I told him, ‘Grandpa, I’ll be coming in a week to celebrate our birthdays and to see you again,’ ” Navarro said Monday at a news conference in south Florida about a wrongful death lawsuit her family has filed. “He just said, ‘Hurry up and get here so we can sit down chat and play dominoes.’ “

Choking back tears, Navarro said, “He was healthy. To know that someone you love is healthy and you were almost there to see them, and a tragedy like this happens, how do you explain or help yourself know they are gone?”

Franco was one of 11 elderly residents of a nursing home, The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, to die after Hurricane Irma struck south Florida on September 10.

01:12 - Source: CNN
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This image released by the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners shows debris along the Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. Recovery along the island chain continues after Hurricane Irma made landfall on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane then. (Sammy Clark/Monroe County Board of County Commission via AP)
PHOTO: Cammy Clark/AP
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        (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Gerben VAN ES / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALE- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
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Franco’s family late last week filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against the nursing home, alleging the facility failed to provide proper air conditioning and that patients suffered for days because of sweltering temperatures resulting from loss of power to AC units. It also claims the nursing home failed to make timely calls for emergency assistance.