Broward County

An accused pill doctor and a groin-punching nurse’s assistant get licenses suspended

Boynton Beach Dr. Peter Katz.
Boynton Beach Dr. Peter Katz.

A doctor accused of drug trafficking, a registered nurse twice convicted of prostitution, and a certified nursing assistant who punched a sick senior citizen in the genitals have been suspended, according to November’s Florida Department of Health discipline report.

The report that includes the three health professionals from South Florida lists the Emergency Suspension Orders (ESO) and Emergency Restriction Orders (ERO) issued to professionals licensed by the state agency.

In alphabetical order:

▪ Albert Guess, licensed certified nursing assistant since 1989, ESO. Though Guess’ address of record with the Department of Health is in Fort Lauderdale, the Department of Health said the 59-year-old was working at Somerby Santa Rosa Beach, a senior living facility in Destin. According to the ESO, “On or about July 5, 2017, R.D. was standing in the hallway outside of his room when Mr. Guess approached him and struck and grabbed him in the groin area.”

R.D. is described in the document as a 74-year-old who suffers from dementia, diabetes and lives in the memory care unit. He told staff Guess struck him “in the nuts.” Guess denied it, but the ESO states: “Video footage of the incident clearly shows Mr. Guess forcefully striking and grabbing R.D. in the groin area, and R.D. doubling over in response.”

Somerby fired Guess on July 14. An Administrative Complaint was filed by the department on Nov. 14.

▪ Peter Katz, licensed medical doctor since 1981, ESO (five). Katz’s five ESOs and five ensuing Administrative Complaints include the charge of trafficking in hydrocodone to which he has pleaded not guilty in Palm Beach County. A DEA and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office investigation resulted in the Boynton Beach doctor’s April arrest.

Katz’s arrest report says he prescribed hydrocodone to an undercover agent without any physical examination, even a blood pressure check, or requiring any identification. His ESOs paint a similar picture to the criminal accusations.

Patient M.V.-C. told her mother that she went to Dr. Katz for treatment because she would be able to obtain controlled substances from him in exchange for cash.

From Emergency Suspension Order issued for Peter Katz’s medical license.

The ESOs detail the case of M.V.-C., who died form a multiple drug overdose after being found unconscious in Katz’s home bathroom with a tourniquet and used syringe. The ESO says M.V.-C told her mother she went to Katz because she could get drugs from him for cash.

When M.V.-C ran out of cash, the ESO says, she moved in with Katz, who eventually started having sex with her.

The ESO says, “After Patient M.V.-C. died, her mother cleaned out her storage unit. Inside the unit, Patient M.V.-C.'s mother found stacks of blank prescription pads, including a pre-signed prescription from Dr. Katz's office. She also found several pill bottles of medications prescribed to Patient M.V.-C. by Dr. Katz. … Despite Patient M.V.-C.'s purported discharge from Dr. Katz's care in 2015, Dr. Katz continued prescribing medication to Patient M.V.-C., as indicated by the following prescriptions that Patient M.V.-C. filled shortly before her death.”

It listed five prescriptions for buprenorphine, used to treat opioid dependence, and two for clonazepam, used to treat anxiety.

That ESO also states, “Even in the simplest interactions with his patients, Dr. Katz failed to meet the standard of care. The medical records for Patients R.U., K.C., and D.G., reveal that Dr. Katz prescribed legend drugs and controlled substances to his patients without adequate medical justification to support the prescriptions and without appropriate follow-up to assess the efficacy of the medication or dosage. Additionally, Dr. Katz prescribed medications that were contraindicated for his patients' purported complaints and in dangerous combinations.”

And the ESO accused Katz, while out on bond in August, of selling urine test referrals to sober home residents, as well as prescriptions for Prozac and lithium for $40 a pop.

▪ Sondra Tomlinson, registered nurse since 2009 (license expired April 30), ESO. Since 2014, Tomlinson has twice been convicted of prostitution, once after agreeing to sex for $50 with an undercover Hollywood police officer, according to her arrest report. But what brought the ESO was pleading guilty to possession of cocaine after a November 2015 bust.

She has received probation on the prostitution and cocaine possession raps. Earlier this month, she was arrested for misdemeanor possession of a crack pipe, according to her arrest report.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal