Mount Carmel: 5 patients who died under former physician's care may have lived if given right treatment

Megan Knowles - Print  | 

At least five patients who died under the care of a former physician at Columbus, Ohio-based Mount Carmel Health System may have survived if they had received the correct treatment, health system officials told The Columbus Dispatch.

The five patients are among nearly three dozen intensive-care patients who died after receiving excessive painkillers doses ordered by William Husel, MD, hospital officials said. Dr. Husel was fired from the hospital in December.

"We [are continuing to review] the records of all patients who were treated by Dr. Husel and died in the hospital," said Ed Lamb, president and CEO of Mount Carmel Health System. "At this point, we have identified one additional patient who received an excessive and potentially fatal dose of medication ordered by Dr. Husel."

That brings the number of patients involved to at least 35, including at least 29 who received a potentially fatal dose of medication ordered by Dr. Husel.

A review of patient records and the care they received found five of these patients may have survived if given the right treatment, said Dan Roth, MD, executive vice president and chief clinical officer for Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health, Mount Carmel's parent company.

The health system had previously indicated that all of the patients were near death. On Feb. 22, Dr. Roth described the patients as being "critically ill."

Since the investigation, Mount Carmel has added a new protocol to set maximum appropriate doses for pain medication in its EMR; implemented a new escalation policy for deviations in its pain medication protocols; restricted the ability to bypass pharmacy review of medication orders; and increased clinician education on end-of-life care practices.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
CMS won't end Mount Carmel's Medicare funding amid probe into patient deaths
Physician viewpoint: Why are we still using stethoscopes? 
Pediatric flu death toll climbs to 41: 5 things to know

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2019. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

To receive the latest hospital and health system business and legal news and analysis from Becker's Hospital Review, sign-up for the free Becker's Hospital Review E-weekly by clicking here.