Former Mount Carmel physician's license suspended amid patient death investigation

The State Medical Board of Ohio suspended the license of a former Columbus-based Mount Carmel Health System physician accused of ordering fatal doses of painkillers for patients, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

William Husel, MD, had worked as an intensive care physician at the system since 2013. Upon learning of the medication incidents, Mount Carmel fired Dr. Husel and sent details of its internal investigation to authorities.

The board, which voted on the suspension Jan. 25, found clear evidence that Dr. Husel violated state law. Allowing him to continue practicing would present a danger of immediate and serious harm to the public, a notice sent to the physician regarding the suspension said.

The suspension order said Dr. Husel asserted a constitutional right against self-incrimination Jan. 22 when board representatives asked him if he administered the opioid fentanyl or fentanyl combined with the sedative midazolam for the purpose of ending patient lives.

Additionally, the letter notifying Dr. Husel of the suspension said the Ohio Department of Medicaid found a credible allegation of fraud based on Dr. Husel's administration of medically unnecessary services billed to Medicaid. A department spokesperson told the Dispatch those alleged services were "grossly inappropriate" dosages of fentanyl.

Mount Carmel officials said at least 34 near-death patients received excessive amounts of pain medication ordered by Dr. Husel while being treated in intensive care units between 2015 and 2018.

All 34 patients died, and Mount Carmel executives said the dosage given was potentially fatal in 28 of the deaths.

Columbus attorney James McGovern of the firm representing Dr. Husel told the Dispatch neither the physician nor his legal team had any comment about allegations against him.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
Mount Carmel CEO: We should have acted faster with physician accused of fatal prescriptions
Second lawsuit filed against Ohio health system, physician charged with ordering fatal pain med doses
Ohio hospital execs review pain med policies amid Mount Carmel probe

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