Mount Carmel Health System CEO Ed Lamb announced Thursday that he’s terminated the employment of 23 individuals and will resign at the end of the month after a former doctor was charged with 25 counts of murder.
“This was a difficult decision, but one that is in the best interest of our organization, our colleagues and the people we serve,” Lamb said in a press release.
He also revealed that the employment of “23 colleagues, including 5 physician, nursing and pharmacy management team members” was terminated effective immediately.
As The Ohio Star previously reported, Dr. William Husel was charged June 6 with 25 counts of murder for ordering “excessive and potentially fatal doses” of fentanyl for former patients. It’s reportedly one of the largest murder cases ever brought against a medical provider in America, and the largest Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien has seen in his 45-year career in the area.
O’Brien said that each count in the indictment alleges that Husel “purposely caused the death” of all 25 patients. The indictment goes on to accuse 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.”
In some cases, Husel was purportedly prescribing 50 times the recommended dosage, though his attorney maintains 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,” said Richard Blake, Husel’s lawyer.
“Dr. Husel just orders the drug, but a pharmacist has to provide the drug and nurses have to administer it. This was a systemic, institutional failure and not just the result of one rogue physician,” he said.
The hospital has already paid out nearly $4.5 million in legal settlements and more than 25 families of patients have filed suit against Mount Carmel, The Times reports.
O’Brien, however, said his office doesn’t expect to charge anyone else in the case, and thanked Mount Carmel for its “complete cooperation.”
In his Thursday announcement, Lamb said that Mount Carmel has completed its own internal investigation, which found that “the total number of affected patients remains 35.” Dr. Richard Streck, executive vice president and chief clinical officer for Mount Carmel, will retire at the end of September, Lamb noted.
“We are deeply sorry for the additional grief and frustration this has caused and are working to provide reasonable settlements with affected families. If that cannot be accomplished, we will work through the court process,” Lamb concluded his statement. “It will take time for Mount Carmel to restore our patients’ and community’s trust. Mount Carmel has been making and will continue implementing meaningful changes throughout the system to ensure that our colleagues provide the best possible care, and that patients and their families can be confident in our services.”
Husel, who faces 15 years to life for each individual count, has since been released from jail after posting bail.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mount Carmel Hospital” by Mount Carmel Hospital.