Fire Dr. Michael Cotton
  • Petitioned Office of Quality Monitoring

This petition was delivered to:

The Joint Commission
Office of Quality Monitoring
Executive Director, Palliative CareCenter & Hospice of Catawba Valley
David B. Clark
Vice President of Human Resources, Blue Ridge Healthcare
David Shirlen
President, NC Medical Board
Ralph C. Loomis, MD
Blue Ridge Healthcare
Murthy Madduri, MD
Director of Business Development, Frye Regional Medical Center
Eddie Salyard
Chief Medical Officer, Frye Regional Medical Center
Dan Hatcher

Fire Dr. Michael Cotton

    1. Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate
    2. Petition by

      Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate

      Hickory, NC

On May 8, 2012, North Carolina voters were asked to vote on a constitutional amendment that essentially banned the recognition of gay marriage that was already banned in the state and the recognition of heterosexual and gay domestic partnerships. Dr. Michael Alan Cotton, and his young son were electioneering for "Vote FOR Marriage NC," the coalition which supported the constitutional amendment, at the Highland Recreation Center in Hickory, North Carolina.  Among passing out business card size literature encouraging voters to vote for the amendment, Dr. Cotton also engaged in conversations with a number of voters as is his constitutional right to freedom of speech.

One unidentified voter approached Dr. Cotton and the two had a conversation about what the purpose of the amendment was to them. The voter made the statement, loudly: "I can't stand this faggot on faggot shit" as he walked off to go vote. Dr. Cotton screamed back: "Me either, that's why you should vote for the amendment, sir!"  Dr. Cotton's remarks was rebuked by both a minister who was working with him electioneering, as well as members of the opposing point-of-view.  Buddy Fisher, a minister working with Dr. Cotton to encourage voters to vote for the amendment, responded:  "I do not agree with that. We disagree on the amendment but that is not called for. I apologize on their behalf."

Reports have also been received that Dr. Cotton has engaged patients, patients families and employees of the facilities that he works at concerning the issue.  Dr. Cotton has been overheard berating known gay or lesbian employees with remarks like: "You gays need to learn to read your Bible," and "This is exactly whats wrong with America, man-on-man and woman-on-woman is disgusting."  These remarks were made openly in the presence of patients and their families.  Other employees have said that Dr. Cotton approached them aggressively with remarks like "I want to educate you on this amendment," going on to state that voting against the amendment is essentially voting against God.  These employees say that Dr. Cotton has created a hostile working environment and many fear reporting his actions publicly because of retributions against them, since no protections exist for LGBT employees in North Carolina.

Dr. Cotton is employed as a physician with Palliative CareCenter & Hospice of Catawba Valley, Frye Regional Medical Center and Blue Ridge Healthcare (which operates Grace Hospital & Valdese Hospital). In his duties at these facilities, he encounters a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients that he is responsible for providing quality healthcare to save or sustain their life, as well as fellow employees that are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.

Dr. Cotton's remarks threaten the quality of care he can provide to LGBT patients or to LGBT family members of patients. His remarks display a great amount of hatred and bigotry that should not be tolerated or allowed by a physician -- crossing the fine line of free speech and showing the ugliness of his prejudices. That is why we are calling on these entities to terminate Dr. Cotton's employment because of the threat he poses to our families and friends; as well as the hostile environment he has created by taking political and religious propaganda into an environment that should be neutral.  We are also calling on the North Carolina Medical Board and The Joint Commission to launch an investigation into ethics violations, as a result of Dr. Cotton's actions & words. His actions distract healthcare employees from providing quality care, which place our families and friends at risk; and create an environment not sutable for healing & care for those sick or injured -- especially for those suffering from terminal illness.

It is important to note that Dr. Cotton's mother, Betty Anne Cotton, is the chair of a Catawba County organization that petitioned Catawba County's Board of Commissioners to endorse the amendment because the "homosexual community threatens the sanctity of marriage and is a threat to national security."  Hate is indeed a learned value.

Recent signatures


    1. Next Level: Boycott Frye, Grace & Valdese Hospitals

      Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate
      Petition Organizer

      Dr. Cotton's employers have remained silent throughout this process. Now it's our turn to turn up the heat and hit them where it hurts -- the pocket. We are calling on all members to join us in boycotting Frye Regional Medical Center (owned by Tenet Healthcare), Grace Hospital and Valdese Hospital (owned by Blue Ridge Healthcare)... and their subsidiaries. Hospital alternatives include Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory and Caldwell Memorial Hospital in Lenoir.

      We will continue this boycott until the respective hospitals revoke Dr. Cotton's privileges with their facilities and notify us via email at Please notify your friends and family to avoid these facilities until we are affirmed that Dr. Cotton's disregard for LGBT persons will not continue.

      Continue to tell your friends & colleagues to join with us by signing their names to this petition. Let's go viral! For more information, visit our Facebook page.

    2. We've Reach 100 Signatures!

      Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate
      Petition Organizer

      Over 100 people are now standing with us to demand action against Dr. Cotton. We need your help to continue putting pressure on his employers. We have heard stories from people who have encountered Dr. Cotton through work and in the community and they speak to his quick temper and his adamant anti-gay position -- going as far as to tell one Christian woman she had "lost her salvation" because she supported the rights of LGBT people to be treated equally.

      Please take a moment to share this petition on your Facebook page or via Twitter. Tell as many people as you can. We have heard that Dr. Cotton's employers are listening -- we just need to continue to push up the pressure.

      Thanks for taking a stand against hate & bigotry.

    3. Reached 100 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • James Hinson OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
      • over 2 years ago

      Because "Dr." Cotton's personal bias is so outspoken, I believe the care he provides to LGBT patients would be compromised. Additionally, as a supposed medical expert, "Dr." Cotton should be aware of the latest genetic findings, that show sexual orientation is determined in utero. Therfore, he is either not keeping up with his medical journal reading as he should, or he is purposely bigoted, or both. Either way, his employer should be taking notice. This man should be severly disciplined, or more appropriately, dissmissed as incompetent.

    • Clinton Johnson CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
      • over 2 years ago

      In The bible, we are taught about judgement, it states in Mathew 7:1 that we should judge not lest ye be judged, yet most of the Christians do this on a regular basis, why ? live and let live for God is the only real judge, also god tells us to let the wheat grow with the tare in Mathew 13:30 he will separate it when he get here ! these are Gods words and the only way for us to live in this world together is to live like God, we must love each other with the love of Christ, remembering that God love us in spite of and man love you because of .

    • Alison Gilliland NORMAN, OK
      • over 2 years ago

      I am very offended by a physician creating such a hostile environment. The Palliative Care Center becomes complicit when it knows its employee, Dr. Cotton, is violating boundaries motivated by his prejudices.

    • Laws Tracie HICKRIY, NC
      • over 2 years ago

      A man with no true compassion in his heart should not be allowed to hold such a position! Who wants a two faced bigot to be by their side in the final days!

    • Julia Hayes SALISBURY, NC
      • over 2 years ago

      I am an educator, and I take all opportunities to combat ignorance.


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