Ohio hospital execs review pain med policies amid Mount Carmel probe

Hospital executives across Ohio are taking a closer look at their pain medication policies since a former Columbus, Ohio-based Mount Carmel Health System physician was accused of ordering potentially fatal painkiller doses for 27 near-death hospital patients, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

Executives at Mount Carmel and its parent, Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health, said they are reviewing these policies after they discovered that William Husel, MD, allegedly ordered the potentially lethal doses for the patients 2015 until November 2018. All of the patients died.

Upon learning of the medication incidents, Mount Carmel fired Dr. Husel and sent details of its internal investigation to authorities, Mount Carmel President and CEO Ed Lamb said in a Jan. 14 statement.

The Franklin County (Ohio) prosecutor’s office and Columbus police are investigating the cases and the Ohio Department of Health is conducting an investigation on behalf of CMS.

Columbus hospital executives said these policies are continually updated, but an announcement like the one from Mount Carmel prompted them to consider additional improvements to these protocols.

"Any time you hear of any potential injury or harm to a patient, to staff, to faculty, it always causes you to take pause,” said Iahn Gonsenhauser, MD, chief quality and patient safety officer at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center.

Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, CMO at OhioHealth, echoed this statement: "Reports of this type, of course, prompt us to look both internally and externally for opportunities to grow and improve."

Some protocols at OhioHealth include certain standardized electronic "order sets" for medications, as well as parameters for appropriate dosing, Dr. Vanderhoff said. If dosing is inconsistent, staff receives medication alerts when a physician orders a drug, when a pharmacist confirms it and when a nurse administers it.

"I think it comes down to education, culture and setting expectations for the organization," said Andrew Thomas, MD, CMO, chief clinical officer and health-sciences administrator for Wexner Medical Center. "It's setting that expectation, teaching people what those expectations are and how to recognize reckless behavior and how to respond."

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
Ohio Health Department investigates former Mount Carmel physician linked to 27 patient deaths
Second lawsuit filed against Ohio health system, physician charged with ordering fatal pain med doses
9 states report high flu activity: 5 things to know

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers