Jury acquits Ohio physician accused of 14 patient deaths

William Husel, a former physician at Columbus, Ohio-based Mount Carmel Health System, has been found not guilty of murder in a case where he was accused of prescribing excessive painkiller doses to accelerate the death of critically ill patients, NBC News reported April 20. 

Mr. Husel was found not guilty on all 14 counts of murder after a two-month trial. The verdict came days after jurors said they hit an impasse, which led Franklin County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Holbrook to urge them to continue deliberations. 

Mr. Husel was accused of ordering fatal painkiller doses for patients who were near death and in intensive care while practicing at the Ohio system between 2015 and 2018. Prosecutors alleged Mr. Husel intentionally prescribed excessive fentanyl doses to accelerate patients' deaths, while the defense argued prosecutors had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt the doses hastened patients' deaths or that the former physician ordered the medication intending to kill the patients.  

Mr. Husel did not take the stand in the case and has not spoken publicly since the allegations arose in a series of lawsuits filed by families of the patients in 2019, according to NBC News. 

Mount Carmel fired Mr. Husel in 2019, the same year the State Medical Board of Ohio suspended his license. He let his license expire in 2021. 

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