Ohio physician accused of fatal medication orders is immune from civil suits, lawyer claims

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A lawyer for William Husel, DO, the former Columbus, Ohio-based Mount Carmel Health System physician accused of ordering potentially fatal painkiller doses for 35 near-death patients, said he is "immune from civil litigation" under state law, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Dr. Husel's lawyer, Greg Foliano, made the claim March 1 in response to a lawsuit filed by David Austin on behalf of his wife, Bonnie. Ms. Austin died Sept. 30 at Mount Carmel West hospital after Dr. Husel ordered large doses of fentanyl and the anti-anxiety drug Versed. The suit is one of 23 filed against the physician.

Mr. Foliano argued Dr. Husel is immune to Mr. Austin's suit and all other civil suits due to a state law that says, "An attending physician, consulting physician, healthcare facility and healthcare personnel acting under the directing of an attending physician are not subject to criminal prosecution, are not liable in damages in a tort or other civil action and are not subject to professional disciplinary action," according to The Columbus Dispatch.

The statute explains that physicians are protected under law as long as their actions are made "in good faith and in accordance with reasonable medical standards."

Mount Carmel officials confirmed 35 patients died after receiving excessive medication doses ordered by Dr. Husel as far back as 2015. Mount Carmel fired Dr. Husel Dec. 5, and the State Medical Board of Ohio suspended his license Jan. 25.

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