A doctor who failed to report an unlicensed caregiver operating two unlicensed assisted living facilities in the Upper Keys, where authorities say residents lived in abhorrent conditions, has been fined $15,069 by the state Department of Health.
The fines were levied because DOH alleges that Coral Gables-based doctor Raul Arcadio Tamayo, 69, knew that Amarylis Maristan, 51, was running illegal elderly living facilities at 173 Ocean Drive in Plantation Key from April to October 2016 and at 8 Avenue B in Key Largo from October to December 2016.
State records show that Tamayo’s medical license remains intact until the end of next month and he has until June to pay the fine.
It was in the Key Largo home where Tamayo’s 85-year-old patient, Regla Valdes, was housed and taken to Mariners Hospital in November 2016 after reportedly having a seizure.
Hospital staff reported that Valdes, who had been under the direct supervision of Maristan, was malnourished and suffering from septic pneumonia and ulcerative bedsores. She died the next day.
Multiple agencies investigated the Key Largo and Plantation Key home facilities over the span of six months.
Investigators found five other elderly women under Maristan’s care. They were all bed- or wheelchair-bound with limited speaking abilities, suffering from memory loss or dementia, and taking antipsychotic or anti-anxiety medication.
According to police reports, all the women were incontinent and all but one had skin lesions or ulcers. Most had urinary tract infections.
One of the women, Nerty Alvarez, also had pneumonia. All were removed from the home.
The Monroe County State Attorney’s office did not prosecute Tamayo due to his limited role as a healthcare provider hired by Maristan, whose case remains pending in the court system.
State Attorney Dennis Ward previously told the Free Press that no evidence could be found that Tamayo operated the facilities, had knowledge that the homes were unlicensed or abused his patients.
On Dec. 22, just days after the DOH imposed obligations on Tamayo, he filed a motion to expunge the case against him in Monroe County.
Following the investigation in 2017, Maristan absconded and evaded arrest until April 2018. She posted $10,000 in a reduced bond amount shortly after being charged.
If convicted, Maristan could face 64.5 months in prison under sentencing guidelines.
The case against her is still proceeding through the court system with a pretrial hearing set for next week.