William Husel, a former Ohio doctor who was fired and placed under investigation for ordering “excessive and potentially fatal doses” of fentanyl, was charged Wednesday with 25 counts of murder.
According to WCMH, it’s one of the biggest murder cases ever brought against a medical provider in America.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced the indictment, which was filed by the Franklin County Grand Jury in connection with treatment administered by Husel at Mount Carmel and St. Ann’s Hospitals in Columbus.
O’Brien said in a statement that each count in the indictment alleges that Husel “purposely caused the death” of all 25 patients. The indictment accuses Husel of ordering fentanyl doses ranging from 500 to 2000 micrograms and administering them to patients, which “shortened their life and hastened or caused their death.”
As The Ohio Star previously reported, Husel was in some cases prescribing 50 times the recommended dose.
According to a timeline of the investigation provided by the Mount Carmel Health System, the hospital began its investigation in October 2018 after receiving a report related to Husel’s care and terminated his employment by December 2018 after discovering that he ordered “excessive and potentially fatal doses for at least 24 patients.”
O’Brien discussed the charges during a Wednesday morning press conference, where he called the indictment the largest murder charge he has seen during his time at the prosecutor’s office, according to WCMH’s Kristine Varkony.
Varkony reported that a pharmacist who notified the hospital of the dosages was identified as the whistleblower. O’Brien said his office does not expect to charge anyone else in the case, and thanked the Mount Carmel Health System for its “complete cooperation.”
We’re moments away from a press conference with Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien regarding the Dr. William Husel case. Husel is officially charged with 25 counts of murder. I will live tweet conference. @nbc4i pic.twitter.com/kDURcx34qq
— Kristine Varkony (@KristineVarkony) June 5, 2019
“We appreciate the County Prosecutor’s leadership and his ongoing commitment to justice in this case. Following the discovery of the actions of Dr. Husel, we notified appropriate authorities, including law enforcement. We have shared information with them and will continue to fully cooperate throughout their investigation,” the hospital said in a press release. “Mount Carmel has made and will continue to implement meaningful changes throughout our system to ensure events like these never happen again.”
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of patients affected by this tragedy,” the hospital said, noting that at the request of O’Brien it will not comment further on the specific facts of the case.
Husel’s attorney, Richard Blake, told WCMH that this “is not a murder case.”
“I can assure you there was never an attempt to euthanize anyone by Dr. Husel. At no time did he ever have the intent to euthanize anyone,” Blake said.
According to O’Brien’s statement, Husel voluntarily turned himself in at Columbus Police Headquarters and was arraigned Wednesday afternoon. Husel pleaded not guilty to all 25 counts, each of which carries a sentence of 15 years to life.
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