Mount Carmel CEO: We should have acted faster with physician accused of fatal prescriptions

Columbus, Ohio-based Mount Carmel Health System executives are apologizing for the system's delayed response after an investigation into a former physician's prescribing practices identified seven additional near-death hospital patients who received excessive doses of painkillers, bringing the number of affected patients to 34, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

Three patients received excessive medication doses from William Husel, MD, after the system received its first formal complaint about the physician Oct. 25, said Ed Lamb, Mount Carmel's president and CEO.

"We should have begun a more expedited process to investigate and consider immediate removal of Dr. Husel from patient care," Mr. Lamb said in a statement. "We are sorry for this tragedy, and we will continue to investigate how we responded to this report and whether there is any other information that should have led us to investigate sooner into Dr. Husel's practices."

Dan Roth, MD, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health, Mount Carmel's parent company, said Dr. Husel's intentions are still unclear, but noted it does not seem he administered the high doses through error.

Dr. Husel was removed from patient care Nov. 21 after Mount Carmel received two more complaints. The hospital fired him Dec. 5 and placed six pharmacists and 14 nurses on administrative leave during the investigation.

All 34 patients died, and Mr. Lamb said the doses given were potentially fatal in 28 of the deaths.

As of Jan. 23, four lawsuits have been filed related to the investigation.

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