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Bed sores on the buttocks of an elderly woman led to a $15,069 fine for Dr. Tamayo, in Coral Gables, Florida who had been charged with elder neglect with great bodily harm in Monroe County court. The Florida Department of Health settled with the doctor saying that the doctor not only knew about an unlicensed assisted living facility (ALF) in Key Largo with an unlicensed caregiver, but that he treated patients there.
“This story illustrates the need for more regulatory changes in the industry,” explains malpractice attorney Jeffrey J. Downey. “Many facilities that do not consider themselves assisted living facilities are recruiting and treating patients that would normally go to nursing homes. We have seen patients going into group homes or independent living settings, where they do not get the care they require. It is also important that law enforcement understands that some neglect should be prosecuted under criminal statutes. Virginia law makes it a crime to abuse or neglect an incapacitated adult. Va. Code 18.2-369 (https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter8/section18.2-369/) However, it is very rare to see any healthcare provider get prosecuted under this statute, explains Downey,” explains Downey.
A 2017 arrest warrant said Tamayo partnered with that unlicensed caregiver, Amarilys Maristan, in operating two unlicensed ALFs. One was in a Plantation Key house, the warrant said. The other was in a Key Largo trailer 12 miles away, and both unlicensed facilities were filled with incontinent patients suffering from dementia, urinary tract infections and bed sores.
The criminal charge of neglect of an elderly or disabled person with great bodily harm against Tamayo was dismissed in August 2019. Maristan still faces two counts of the same the charge in Monroe County court. The Department of Health Administrative Complaint against Tamayo, a licensed doctor in Florida since October 1987, said a woman identified as “R.V.” showed up at Mariner’s Hospital in Tavernier, a small town in the Florida Keys on Nov. 29, 2016 with Stage 3 bed sores on her buttocks.
“Medical staff reported the victim was covered in urine and some bleeding and the wounds had infection,” the probable cause statement said. She also “suffered from malnutrition.” These signs of possible elder abuse prompted Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Children and Families to get involved.
They found that “R.V” had been living in an unlicensed ALF, with Tamayo as her physician for six months. She had been one of nine patients Tamayo treated in the previous 11 months, the Department of Health complaint said.
For one particular patient, Tamayo did not treat for bed sores, resulting in Stage 3 bed sores, The patient died after being transported to Homestead Hospital on Nov. 30, 2016.
“Investigators discovered no form of medical equipment (breathing treatments, blood pressure cuffs, prescribed medication) inside the illegal facility,” the state’s complaint said.
After the ALFs were closed, investigators found another woman with pneumonia and Parkinson’s Disease. But none of Tamayo’s medical records say he treated her for either ailment, according to the complaint.
In the end, the doctor settled for a fine of 16,000 dollars, and his choices of punishment offered were to sit through a five-hour course in risk management or eight hours of disciplinary hearings before the Board of Medicine.
Apparently, the doctor forgot the apply first tenet of the Hippocratic Oath, which is…do no harm.
If you or a loved one has suffered from abuse at a nursing home or assisted living facility, call our office for a free consultation. Act early to protect your rights. No attorney’s fees are charged unless there is a settlement or recovery, so call now for your free consultation.