A Nebo doctor whose license has been suspended since 2016 will get to practice medicine but only under certain conditions.
The North Carolina Medical Board released a consent order signed late last week by Dr. John David Hamel that says his medical license has been indefinitely suspended but the indefinite suspension was immediately stayed (postponed). He was first issued a license to practice medicine by the medical board in 1993 with a specialty of emergency medicine and also obtained board certification in emergency medicine, according to the North Carolina Medical Board.
Hamel founded Complete Laser Clinic in 2003, according to a biography of Hamel on www. drjohnhamel.com . Complete Laser Clinic, where Hamel has practiced cosmetic medicine and surgery, has locations in western North Carolina, according to the consent order from the medical board. The website for Complete Laser Clinic says it has offices in Nebo, Asheville, Hickory, Mooresville and Murphy.
The consent order says Hamel’s suspension was stayed on the following terms and conditions:
» Limit his practice of medicine to the specialty areas of emergency medicine as defined by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and urgent care medicine defined as the provision of immediate medical service for the treatment of acute and chronic illness and injury.
» Not perform any surgical procedures outside the scope of his practice of medicine in the areas of emergency medicine or urgent care medicine.
» Prohibited from performing any cosmetic procedures. For the purposes of this consent order, the term “cosmetic procedure” is defined as any medical procedure that is intended to improve a person's appearance rather than their health. Hamel is also prohibited from supervising other people performing cosmetic procedures or being in the same room while other people are performing cosmetic procedures.
» Prior to beginning to practice medicine at any location, Hamel must first obtain practice site approval from the board’s office of the medical director by contacting the board’s compliance coordinator.
» Enroll as an Affiliated Monitors Assessment participant prior to resuming the practice of medicine. Hamel has to complete all phases and parts of the Affiliated Monitors Assessment within six months from the date of execution of the consent order.
» Hamel further agrees to comply with all recommendations resulting from the Affiliated Monitors Assessment.
» Complete all remediation recommended by the Affiliated Monitors Assessment within one year of the date of the execution of the consent order. The time period for completing the recommended remediation may be extended by the board if the board receives notice from Affiliated Monitors that additional time is necessary to complete the remediation or at the discretion of the Office of the Medical Director.
» Will maintain his current contract with NCPHP and abide by its terms, including the timely payment of any fees required by NCPHP. Hamel will comply with all NCPHP recommendations. Unless lawfully prescribed for him by someone other than himself, Hamel will refrain from the use or possession of alcohol and all other mind- or mood-altering substances and all controlled substances including, but not limited to, sedatives, stimulants and pain medication.
» Upon request by the board, Hamel will supply urine, blood, hair or any other bodily fluid or tissue sample the board might reasonably require for the purposes of analysis to determine if he has consumed any of the substances mentioned above.
» Upon an ex parte determination of probable cause by the board that Hamel has failed to comply with any of the terms and conditions, that determination, without further showing, will constitute grounds for the board to summarily suspend Hamel’s North Carolina medical license.
» Will obey all laws. Likewise, he shall obey all rules and regulations involving the practice of medicine.
» Will meet with the board or members of the board for an investigative interview at such times as requested by the board.
» Upon request, Hamel shall provide the board with any information the Board deems necessary to verify compliance with the terms and conditions of the consent order.
» If Hamel fails to comply with any of the terms of the consent order, that failure will constitute unprofessional conduct within the meaning of state law and will be grounds, after any required notice and hearing, for the board to annul, suspend or revoke his license to practice medicine and to deny any application he might make in the future or then have pending for a license to practice medicine.
» The consent order will take effect immediately upon its execution by both Hamel and the board, and it will continue in effect until specifically ordered otherwise by the board.
Complaints against Hamel appear to go back to 2011, according to the N.C. Medical Board.
In August 2014, the board and Hamel entered into a consent order in which his medical license was restricted from performing surgery except in certain limited circumstances. The 2014 consent order resulted from findings by the board that Hamel had performed cosmetic surgical procedures on five patients and that his care had failed to conform to the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice in North Carolina, according to the state medical board documents.
As a result of the board’s findings, it ordered that Hamel was restricted and prohibited from performing any elective surgical procedures which require more than topical anesthesia except for certain cosmetic procedures. The medical board said Hamel could use certain local injections for supplemental pain relief.
The 2014 Consent Order also said that if Hamel failed to comply with any of the terms of the order, it would be grounds for the board to annul, suspend or revoke his license to practice medicine and surgery.
In May 2016, the board received a complaint from a doctor about a patient he had treated in the emergency room after Hamel had performed several cosmetic surgeries on her. One of those surgeries led to an abscess that required a hospital admission and surgical intervention by that doctor, according to medical board documents. The medical board said the thigh lift surgery, breast augmentation surgery and the scar revision of the thighs that Hamel performed on the patient were elective surgical procedures that required more than topical anesthesia and were not part of the 2014 consent order, the medical board says.
Also in May 2016, the medical board received information from another doctor who said a patient had been seen in his office after she had undergone an abdominoplasty performed by Hamel. The doctor requested a copy of the medical record for the patient, according to medical board documents.
The medical record for that patient indicated that another doctor had performed the surgery. However, the patient insisted that Hamel was the only doctor in the room during her surgery, the medical board documents say. Hamel, again, violated the 2014 consent order, the medical board says.
The board said it also received information from Catawba Women’s Clinic reporting they had seen several patients from Hamel’s clinics that were experiencing complications from surgeries being performed by Hamel. The clinic specifically identified one as a patient that had experienced such complications, according to the medical board.
The medical board said he violated the 2014 consent order again.
In August 2016, the medical board received a complaint from another patient about the care she had received from Hamel and another doctor employed at Complete Laser Clinics.
The board said it submitted the medical records of the patients who had complaints about Hamel to an independent expert reviewer. The reviewing expert concluded that Hamel’s “diagnoses, treatments and documentation of his care for those patients all failed to conform to the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice in North Carolina,” said medical board documents.
On July 2, 2016, Hamel was charged with driving while impaired — motor boat vessel, the medical board says. Hamel refused a chemical analysis to determine the alcohol concentration or presence of an impairing substance, the board says.
On Oct. 10, 2016, the medical board entered an Order for Summary Suspension, and Hamel’s North Carolina medical license has been inactive since that time, the board says.
Hamel has signed a five-year monitoring contract with NC Physicians Health Program and has been deemed by NC Physicians Health Program to be safe to return to practice medicine, the medical board says. NC Physicians Health Program assists providers with recovery from substance use disorders and other conditions that could impair their ability to safely provide care and services to their patients, according to its website.
The website www.drjohnhamel.com says he served as an emergency physician at Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge for the first 14 years of his career. Hamel also was appointed in January 2000 as medical director for Burke County Emergency Medical Services and served until 2008, when Dr. Edward St. Bernard was appointed as medical director on Aug. 19, according to information from the county.
Sharon McBrayer is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 828-432-8946.