Husel is suspected of killing at least three-dozen patients in the ICU of Mount Caramel Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
An appeals court won’t stop civil litigation against Dr. William Husel, a Columbus-area physician accused of killed 25 patients.
According to The Associated Press, Husel and his former employer—Mount Caramel Health—tried to defer a series of lawsuits from moving forward. However, their petitions were rejected by a Franklin County judge.
Mount Caramel, says The A.P., ordered a review of Husel’s records. It found that, through prescribing excessive painkillers, the physician killed roughly three-dozen patients over the course of several years. He was fired in December 2018.
Husel is now facing criminal charges. However, his defense attorneys have deflected attempts to interrogate his motivations. In the past, Husel’s former lawyers said the may have intentionally overdosed some patients in an effort to ease pain and accelerate impending death.
Now, though, Husel’s current counsel has argued that civil litigation could compromise the doctor’s criminal current case. That’s because, outside of criminal court, Husel may have to address claims that could compromise his right to avoid self-incrimination.
But the court’s ruling declined to pause any ongoing lawsuits. Nevertheless, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals—based in Franklin County–stressed its decision isn’t final.
Husel remains free on a $1 million bail. As the Columbus Dispatch notes, he’s pleaded not guilty to all charges; his trial is tentatively scheduled to begin in late April.
David Shroyer, an attorney representing the families of several of Husel’s alleged victims, said his clients want answers.
“Our clients, every single one of them, wants to know: How did this happen?” Shroyer said.
However, Shroyer said he doesn’t think the physician will offer any sworn statement until after criminal proceedings have either closed or concluded. In the meantime, he’s collecting evidence and preparing depositions. Shroyer hopes to obtain statements and testimony from nurses, doctors and other officials who interacted with Husel while he was still employed with Mount Caramel.
“In order to understand what went on here, we need a total picture of everything that happened,” Shroyer said. “We have to find out what the root cause was here that allowed this to occur.”
Another lawsuit, filed mid-November by the family of Thomas D. Matthews, Jr., provides an example of the allegations against Husel.
Matthews, says NBC4, was admitted to Mount Caramel in November of 2017, after being found unresponsive at home. He underwent “exploratory emergency surgery” the same day he arrived. Afterward, Matthews was sent to the hospital’s intensive care unit, where Husel was appointed as his physician.
“Upon information and belief, Defendant Husel ordered 500 micrograms of the drug Fentanyl to be given to Thomas D. Matthews, Jr. through his IV,” the suit claims. “This excessive dosage was grossly inappropriate and was either ordered negligently and not properly reviewed or was intentionally prescribed by Defendant Husel for the purpose of ending Thomas D. Matthew, Jr.’s life.”
NBC4 notes that the patient, Matthew, died within 20 minutes.