Test results pending in possible Wis. heat death

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Milwaukee nursing-home resident died after staff left him outside for several hours on a sweltering day, but the exact cause of death won’t be available for several weeks, the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office said Wednesday.

Martin Belkin, 69, was outside for more than three hours Tuesday afternoon as temperatures soared as high as 97 degrees, according to the medical examiner’s report. Staff at the Sunrise Care Center found him unresponsive in his wheelchair about 6 p.m.

No one checked on him after he was wheeled outside at his own request, the report said. His body temperature was 101.4 nearly an hour after he was found.

The medical examiner’s office said an autopsy was completed by Wednesday afternoon. It said the cause and manner of death wouldn’t be available until further toxicology tests were run, which could take several weeks.

Belkin had been in an assisted living center until April and was in and out of the hospital several times before being taken to Sunrise Care Center, the report said.

He had a history of kidney failure, blindness, diabetes and depression, among other ailments. He had been taken to a hospital about two weeks ago for a low pulse rate and high potassium and his heart had stopped, according to the report.

Sunrise administrator Sue Blackwell released a statement Wednesday saying the facility was cooperating with authorities and conducting its own investigation.

“This is a tragic situation and we are deeply saddened,” she said.

Belkin’s former caregiver, Maximo Rodriguez, did not want to comment Wednesday before speaking with Belkin’s family.

No listing could be found for Belkin’s son, Robert Belkin, who was listed in the medical examiner’s records. The son told investigators he was concerned that the facility didn’t check on his father.

High-temperature records were set in Wisconsin on Tuesday, including in Milwaukee where the mercury reached 97 degrees.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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