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State suspends UM pediatrician for inappropriate relationships with patients

Posted at 5:43 PM, Jan 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-26 18:01:31-05

A University of Michigan pediatrician is under investigation, accused of being a sexual predator. 

Dr. Mark Franklin Hoeltzel’s medical license is suspended after a state investigation. 

“We’re looking into the status of his medical license and what we are going to do with respect to the suspension. But right now again, it is important to remind everyone that he is presumed innocent,” said Raymond Cassar, Hoeltzel’s attorney. 

The state investigation was done by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Bureau of Professional Licensing.  It found multiple cases of inappropriate behavior. 

Mark Hoeltzel (Ss 2017) by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

It says in 2004, the doctor treated an 11 year old girl as he worked at the University of Michigan Arthritis Camp. Her mom reported that the doctor sent the little girl flirtatious and suggestive messages on Yahoo Messenger. The state report says the hospital sent him to a class on having boundaries. 

Parents who have taken their children to the University of Michigan asked to speak anonymously.  They say they don’t feel that punishment was severe enough.  They wonder if the alleged behavior that followed could have been prevented. 

“Why are you texting an 11-year-old?  Why is that something you would contemplate as a grown man?  It is predatory behavior,” said the mom. “He should have been fired right then.” 

“Michigan Medicine has engaged an experienced outside reviewer to investigate this entire matter,” read a statement released by the medical center. “After the inappropriate messages were brought to the health system's attention in 2006, the health system cooperated fully with the police on an investigation. While the police did not find evidence constituting criminal conduct, the health system determined that Hoeltzel’s conduct was inappropriate and required him to attend training on appropriate professional conduct.”

The state report says inappropriate behavior continued. In 2015 Dr. Hoeltzel allegedly spotted a patient at the hospital under the care of another doctor.  He started sending her text messages and convinced her to see him for care. The report says she was under 21 years old in 2016 when the doctor provided her with alcohol while she was on oxycontin and morphine. He allegedly had a sexual relationship with her at his office and at her apartment.

Concerned parents wonder if this could have been prevented.

“Think about it. If you leave a rabid puppy somewhere with a bunch of kids, don’t you think he will attack?” said Kenisha White, a mom to four. “If you are just going to send him to a class, then what have you done in the past? Are there other cases you have covered up?  That puts the whole university in question.”

“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,” said Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., the CEO of Michigan Medicine, in a statement. 

The statement said Dr. Hoeltzel is no longer a Michigan Medicine employee. 

University of Michigan Police have an ongoing criminal investigation that could result in charges.