A doctor at the University of Michigan was fired and stripped of his medical license for being intimate with a patient at work — plying the underage woman with alcohol and prescribing her opioids, authorities said.
Mark Franklin Hoeltzel, who worked at the university’s Pediatric Rheumatology Clinic in Ann Arbor, allegedly began texting a young woman to wish her a Merry Christmas in early December 2015 after seeing her at the clinic, MLive.com reports, citing an administrative complaint filed by the state’s attorney general.
Hoeltzel and the woman, according to the complaint filed last month, then began texting and emailing before he had her treatment transferred into his care. Hoeltzel treated the woman from December 2015 through November 2017 and prescribed her controlled substances, including oxycontin and morphine sulfate, on a monthly basis during that period.
Their text and email messages became more “flirtatious and suggestive,” and eventually led to the pair having a sexual relationship in 2016, with some of their trysts taking place at the clinic, according to the complaint.
Hoeltzel also shared alcohol with the patient during some of the encounters, despite the fact that the woman was underage and taking several medications, the complaint continued.
“[Hoeltzel’s] personal relationship compromised his ability to provide [the patient] with appropriate medical treatment,” according to the complaint, which also alleges that Hoeltzel exchanged emails with an 11-year-old patient he met while working as a doctor at a UM Arthritic Camp.
The girl’s mother reported the messages to the Arthritis Foundation and Hoeltzel later admitted that the messages were a “major lapse in professional judgment,” the complaint said. University officials required him to undergo a “boundaries course” as a result.
Hoeltzel was removed from patient care duties when his supervisors learned that the state licensing board was investigating him for sexual misconduct in December. He is no longer an employee of Michigan Medicine, university officials confirmed in a statement.
“We also immediately reported him to law enforcement and have been fully cooperating with the investigation that is underway,” UM Executive Vice President of Medical Affair Marschall Runge said in a statement. “In the meantime, we also have hired an experienced outside reviewer to investigate this matter. These are very disturbing and serious allegations, and we have reached out to our patients to inform them of the situation, offer resources and provide them with a way to report any concerns.”
Hoeltzel, whose medical license was suspended on Dec. 21, had 30 days to submit a written response to the complaint, but had not done so as of Thursday, a representative from the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs told the Detroit News.
Failure to respond is considered an “admission of the allegations,” according to the complaint. Hoeltzel could not be reached for comment late Thursday, according to the Detroit News.