Physician sues HCA hospital for libel

David John Hetzel, MD, sued Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Hospital, owned by HCA Healthcare, in early June, alleging libel against his former employer, according to a report in Citizen Times.

Dr. Hetzel, a gynecologist, left Mission in 2020 and said in the complaint he has been turned down for 15 jobs since then. He alleged Mission and HCA Healthcare "erroneously" reported him to the National Practitioner's Databank, which logs information on malpractice and legal action against physicians, according to the report.

The report stemmed from an incident that occurred shortly before Dr. Hetzel planned to leave Mission Hospital. Dr. Hetzel was cleared by the hospital's investigative committee and executive board, but his record was not changed on the database.

Dr. Hetzel is seeking more than $250,000 due to missed job opportunities.

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