Huellmantel v. Greenville Hosp. System, 1611

Decision Date05 December 1990
Docket NumberNo. 1611,1611
Citation402 S.E.2d 489,303 S.C. 549
CourtSouth Carolina Court of Appeals
PartiesAlan B. HUELLMANTEL, M.D., Appellant, v. GREENVILLE HOSPITAL SYSTEM, Respondent. . Heard

Joseph M. Jenkins, Jr., of Horton, Drawdy, Ward & Johnson, Greenville, for appellant.

Frances D. Ellison, of Haynsworth, Marion, McKay & Guerard, Greenville, for respondent.

PER CURIAM:

Dr. Alan B. Huellmantel brought suit in circuit court appealing the decision of the Greenville Hospital System (Hospital) to deny his reappointment to its medical staff. The trial court found that the Hospital did not deny Dr. Huellmantel his due process rights and held in favor of the Hospital. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

In May 1988, Dr. Huellmantel applied for reappointment to the Hospital's medical staff. The application has a section called "Disciplinary Actions" which asks an applicant to indicate if he voluntarily relinquished his staff privileges or had them revoked at a member hospital. Dr. Huellmantel checked "No" to all responses. The Hospital wrote St. Francis Hospital in Greenville inquiring about Dr. Huellmantel's status there. St. Francis responded that the doctor's privileges had been terminated in July 1987 for failure to follow regulations regarding recordkeeping. St. Francis also indicated that Dr. Huellmantel may have given inadequate care to a patient.

On July 12, 1988, Dr. Chandler, the Chairman of the Hospital's Credentials Committee, met with Dr. Huellmantel. Dr. Huellmantel claimed that he had not been terminated by St. Francis Hospital, but rather had resigned and promised to send Dr. Chandler documents which would clarify the situation. Dr. Chandler did not receive the documents by July 25, 1988, when the Hospital's Credentials Committee met. The Credentials Committee considered Dr. Huellmantel's application and Dr. Chandler's report of his meeting with Dr. Huellmantel and recommended that the application be denied. Dr. Huellmantel requested a hearing and one was held on October 18, 1988, before a panel of five physicians. The Hearing Committee recommended that Dr. Huellmantel's application be denied, that he be prohibited from reapplying for staff privileges for an unspecified period of time, and that he be required to undergo psychiatric evaluation and treatment as appropriate before he reapply.

Based upon the Hearing Committee's report, the Hospital's Medical Staff Council recommended that Dr. Huellmantel's application for reappointment be denied, that he not be allowed to reapply for one year, and that he be required to undergo psychiatric evaluation and treatment as appropriate before he be allowed to reapply. Dr. Huellmantel appealed the decision of the Medical Staff Council to the Hospital's Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees approved the recommendation of the Medical Staff Council. On December 28, 1988, Dr. Huellmantel brought this action appealing the decision of the Hospital alleging that the Hospital's actions deprived him of his right to due process.

Dr. Huellmantel's hearing and all subsequent proceedings were governed by the Hospital's Fair Hearing Plan. In accordance with the Plan, the Hospital notified Dr. Huellmantel that the Medical Staff Council recommended that his reappointment be denied because of Dr. Huellmantel's:

1. Failure to provide documentation explaining [his] leaving the staff of St. Francis Hospital.

2. Failure to provide documentation regarding review of certain patient care by St. Francis Hospital.

Dr. Huellmantel was notified of the one witness expected to testify against him, and was given copies of all written information which was considered in making the recommendation. He was also given thirty days notice of the date, time and place of the hearing.

Despite being given the opportunity to be represented by counsel, Dr. Huellmantel appeared alone. He also declined the opportunity to present witnesses on his behalf, and failed to provide any documentation in support of his position.

The issues of merit are whether the Hospital afforded Dr. Huellmantel due process before (1) denying his application for reappointment and requiring that he wait one year before being permitted to reapply for medical staff membership and (2) requiring him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and perhaps treatment in order to be able to reapply for medical staff membership.

A physician's interest in being reappointed to a hospital staff is a property interest that may not be denied without compliance with the procedural and substantive due process requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment. See In Re: Zaman, 285 S.C. 345, 329 S.E.2d 436 (1985).

Procedural due process requirements are not technical; no particular form of procedure is necessary. Mitchell v. W.T. Grant Co., 416 U.S. 600, 94 S.Ct. 1895, 40 L.Ed.2d 406 (1974). The United States Supreme Court has held, however, that at a minimum certain elements must be present. These include (1) adequate notice, Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 95 S.Ct. 729, 42 L.Ed.2d 725 (1975); (2) adequate opportunity...

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    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • September 19, 2002
    ... ... 345, 329 S.E.2d 436, 437 (1985); cf. Huellmantel v. Greenville Hosp. Sys., 303 S.C. 549, 402 S.E.2d 489, ... Page 363 ... may evaluate whether abortion clinics have established an adequate system, adequate number, or adequate variety of clergy to whom referrals might be ... ...
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    ...form of procedure. Id. Certain minimum elements, however, must be present. We listed these in Huellmantel v. Greenville Hospital System, 303 S.C. 549, 402 S.E.2d 489 (Ct.App.1991), to include (1) adequate notice; (2) adequate opportunity for a hearing; (3) the right to introduce evidence; a......
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    • June 12, 2003
    ...compliance with the procedural and substantive due process requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment. Huellmantel v. Greenville Hosp. System, 303 S.C. 549, 402 S.E.2d 489 (Ct.App.1991), citing In Re: Zaman, 285 S.C. 345, 329 S.E.2d 436 (1985). Procedural due process requirements are not tech......
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    • May 23, 2023
    ... ... Humellmantel v. Greenville Hosp. Sys., 303 S.C. 549, ... 402 S.E.2d 489 (1991); ... ...
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