A civil lawsuit was filed this week in the South Carolina eleventh judicial circuit (in Lexington County) against Lexington Medical Center, its family practice division and Dr. Kim Hawkes – the “Blonde Doc” whose saga has made headlines and spawned multiple investigations.
As this news outlet exclusively reported in late December, Hawkes caused a social media stir when she publicly accused her estranged husband John Hawkes – a deputy with the Richland County sheriff’s department – of domestic abuse. She has also publicly accused Richland County sheriff Leon Lott of helping his deputy obtain legal representation – and accused other law enforcement officers of enabling her estranged husband’s ongoing harassment.
In a December 21, 2021 Facebook post, Kim Hawkes specifically called out multiple law enforcement agencies for failing to arrest her husband despite him allegedly “leaving bruises on me almost four weeks ago.”
The domestic violence allegations are currently being investigated by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Meanwhile, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) is probing allegations leveled against Kim Hawkes in her capacity as a physician. As a part of that inquiry, Hawkes has admitted to some questionable conduct in a voluntary statement provided to SCDHEC investigators on November 23, 2021.
Specifically, she acknowledged accepting “prescription medication from patients” and “violating HIPPA (sic) without realizing it.”
That’s a reference to patient confidentiality provisions contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (a.k.a. HIPAA).
“I acknowledge this was wrong and I am extremely sorry it ever happened,” Hawkes wrote in the statement.
Hawkes said she was unsure how the situation “snowballed,” but vowed to put it right moving forward.
“I am extremely passionate about patient care and cannot imagine not being allowed to care for them any longer,” she wrote.
A month later, though, Lexington Medical Center notified Hawkes’ patients of her resignation effective December 24, 2021.
One of Hawkes’ alleged victims – Whitney Baxley of Lexington, S.C. – accused the doctor of grooming and manipulating her prior to initiating an extramarital affair with her in October 2021.
“She used and abused me mentally, emotionally, financially, sexually – I mean, me and my family – just abused us, took money from us,” Baxley said during an exclusive interview with me last month.
Take a look …
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Baxley has since retained the services of Eric Bland of the Columbia, S.C.-based Bland Richter law firm. Bland is one of the most prominent plaintiffs’ attorneys from the still-unraveling ‘Murdaugh Murders’ true crime saga.
While we await potential filings in connection with Baxley’s case, another one of Hawkes’ former patients is suing her – claiming she “actively violated his confidentiality … on multiple occasions.”
According to the action (.pdf), Hawkes “shared confidential patient information with her paramour.”
Specifically, Hawkes “gave her female paramour access to patients’ medical records, the ability to access patient records … and allowed her paramour to approve patients’ requests for opiate medications,” according to the lawsuit.
Hawkes is further accused of sharing personal information about the plaintiff – named only as “John Doe” – allegedly telling her “female paramour (that) she had to listen to (him) whining and crying about his deceased wife and commented that he would probably ‘off himself’ without the support of the friend.”
Hawkes’ also told her female paramour – presumed to be Baxley – that the unnamed plaintiff was “completely pathetic,” the suit alleged.
So … how did “John Doe” come to be in possession of all of this information?
According to the lawsuit, “the paramour … shared with (him) the contents of a flash drive containing more than 451 pages of text messages between her and Dr. Hawkes.”
This news outlet has obtained the name of the plaintiff in this case, however I am declining to publish it at this time. Baxley confirmed to this news outlet that she is the “paramour” referenced in the lawsuit.
According to Baxley, though, the plaintiff bringing the suit has serious substance abuse issues and took advantage of her to “get what he wanted.”
“I didn’t know he was a drug addict and I trusted him, later it was revealed to me he had an addiction problem and I severed ties,” she told me.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina school of medicine, Hawkes completed her residency at Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia, S.C. She actually served as chief resident at this facility, which is now part of the Prisma Health system. Hawkes was planning to start her own practice – BlondeDoc FAB – which would have specialized in a variety of cosmetic procedures, however those plans have been shelved.
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According to Hawkes, she and her new boyfriend – former Lexington, S.C. police officer Brandon Hassler – have been forced to leave the state due to ongoing harassment from law enforcement allies of her estranged husband.
Hassler was fired from his post with the Lexington police department earlier this month, which he claimed was a retaliatory move. According to a letter (.pdf) obtained by this news outlet, the 15-year law enforcement veteran blasted his former colleagues – accusing them of collaborating with John Hawkes in an effort to dig up dirt against him and Kimberly Hawkes.
According to Hassler, this alleged collaboration “put Kim Hawkes in danger of further attack” by her estranged husband – while at the same time “crippling the entire department and opening it to ridicule and disrepute.”
This news outlet has been trying to get Hawkes on camera for several weeks, but as of this writing she has declined to appear on the advice of her attorneys. I am going to continue reaching out to her, however, because I do believe she has a perspective on these matters that our readers and viewers would benefit from hearing.
Stay tuned …
THE LAWSUIT …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Chicago Blackhawks’ lid pictured above).
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