Columbus hospital: Doc gave near-death patients excessive pain meds


COLUMBUS (AP) — An Ohio hospital system says an intensive care doctor ordered “significantly excessive and potentially fatal” doses of pain medicine for at least 27 near-death patients in the past few years after families asked to stop lifesaving measures.

The Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System says it fired the doctor, notified authorities and removed 20 employees from patient care pending further investigation. Those include pharmacists and nurses who administered medication.

The hospital system also publicly apologized.

The announcement came after a family sued, alleging medicine was used to hasten a patient’s death. The lawsuit was filed Monday against the health system, a pharmacist, a nurse and the doctor, which it identifies as William Husel.

Case records list no attorney to comment on Husel’s behalf. There is no public personal phone listing for him.

Husel had previously worked at the Cleveland Clinic, which released a statement stating the doctor was a supervised resident there from 2008 to 2013.

The Cleveland Clinic says it’s conducting an investigation of his work. The statement also says it has multiple safeguards in place to protect patients from medication errors.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says his office has met with doctors, hospital executives and attorneys for Mount Carmel. He says Mount Carmel and its parent organization, Trinity Health, have cooperated.

Mount Carmel operates four hospitals around Columbus. Trinity Health is one of the country’s largest Roman Catholic health care systems.

Records show the State Medical Board has never taken disciplinary action against an Ohio doctor accused of ordering “significantly excessive and potentially fatal” doses of pain medicine for at least 27 near-death patients in the past few years.

It’s unclear whether the medical board ever received a complaint or conducted an investigation about him. Those records are confidential under Ohio law. Outcomes are made public only when the board takes formal action.