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Doctor Suspected of Causing More Than Two Dozen Patient Deaths

— February 7, 2019

Mount Carmel Hospital System physician, Dr. William Husel, is accused of prescribing high levels of pain medications that led to the deaths of 28 patients.

Dr. William Husel, a physician working with Mount Carmel Hospital System in Ohio, allegedly ordered markedly high doses of pain medication prescriptions for his patients, leading to the deaths of at least twenty-eight people under his care.  According to a report by Associated Press, a timeline of events best details the allegations in lawsuits that have been filed against the doctor, the health system, a nurse, and a pharmacist all said to be involved in the matter along with statements from the family members of patients who lost their lives.

Doctor Suspected of Causing More Than Two Dozen Patient Deaths
Photo by Claudia on Unsplash

“Oct. 25: Columbus-based Mount Carmel receives formal report related to care provided by Dr. William Husel;

Nov. 19: Mount Carmel receives second formal report related to Husel’s care and broadens an internal investigation;

Nov. 21: Mount Carmel receives a third report and prohibits Husel from providing patient care;

Dec. 5: Mount Carmel fires Husel, notifies the State Medical Board of Ohio and meets with Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien;

Dec. 11: Mount Carmel begins training staff on changes in procedures and on existing and updated policies;

Dec. 27: Mount Carmel first contacts families of patients affected by Husel’s actions to notify them and apologize;

Jan. 14: The first lawsuit is filed over the deaths…alleging a ‘grossly excessive dosage of the powerful painkiller fentanyl was ordered to hasten the death of 79-year-old Janet Kavanaugh in December 2017’;

Jan. 14: Allegations against Husel become public as the hospital system releases a statement revealing the deaths of 27 patients who received doses of pain medication that were potentially fatal;

Jan. 16: In the first public comments from a family member, David Austin, of Columbus, says he felt ‘like somebody kicked me in the chest’ when he was told of the alleged circumstances of the death of his wife of 36 years, Bonnie Austin, in September.  The same day, Mount Carmel says it identified a 28th patient;

Jan. 17: The widow of a man treated by Husel says news of the circumstances of her husband’s death left her shocked that such a scenario could happen despite procedural and technological safeguards. Christine Allison, of Columbus, says ‘the system failed tremendously’ in the case of her 44-year-old husband, Troy;

Jan. 19: The Ohio Department of Health confirms its investigation of Husel on behalf of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services;

Jan. 24: Mount Carmel acknowledges that Husel kept working for four weeks after concern was raised last fall.  It also says it is now investigating whether some patients got excessive doses while they might still have had the opportunity to improve with treatment.  The hospital raises the total number of patients receiving excessive doses of pain medication to 34;

Jan. 25: State Medical Board suspends Husel’s license…Two additional lawsuits filed, over the deaths of 69-year-old Joanne Bellisari in May 2015 and 80-year-old Jim Allen in May 2018, bringing the total to six lawsuits as of Friday.”

Mount Carmel President and CEO, Ed Lamb, said, “We are sorry for this tragedy, and we will continue to investigate how we responded to this report and whether there is any other information that should have led us to investigate sooner into Dr. Husel’s practices.”


Hospital knew of problems and patients kept dying

Timeline shows investigation of alleged pain meds overdosing at Mount Carmel

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