48 Mount Carmel nurses, pharmacists under review amid patient deaths

Forty-eight former and current employees at Columbus, Ohio-based Mount Carmel Health System are under review as part of an internal investigation after allegations that a physician ordered fatal doses of pain medication for nearly three dozen patients.

In February, Mount Carmel confirmed William Husel, MD, ordered excessive doses of painkillers for at least 34 near-death patients in intensive care. After learning of the medication incidents, Mount Carmel fired Dr. Husel and sent details of its internal investigation to authorities.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we have removed all colleagues who were associated with medication administration for an impacted patient," Mount Carmel President and CEO Ed Lamb said in a March 13 statement. "In total, 30 colleagues are on administrative leave, and 18 no longer work for Mount Carmel — many of whom left years ago."

Mount Carmel also reported the 48 staff members' names to relevant nursing and pharmacy boards. However, Mr. Lamb noted the health system is reviewing employees' actions on a case-by-case basis.

"Placing colleagues on administrative leave does not reflect final judgment on their actions," he said. "After a thorough review of each colleague through our fair and just culture process, we anticipate some colleagues may return to work at the appropriate time."

Along with placing some colleagues on administrative leave, the health system also named new interim clinical leaders for Columbus-based Mount Carmel West, where Dr. Husel practiced, and its intensive care unit.

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