The Ohio doctor accused of ordering excessive painkiller doses for dozens of patients who died won’t face trial on murder charges until next year.
Dr. William Husel was scheduled for trial in Columbus this June, but it was delayed by a ban on mass gatherings because of the coronavirus and related changes in court operations. Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Holbrook rescheduled the trial to start May 10, 2021.
“There’s no way we can do it this summer,” Holbrook said after the decision was made during a telephone conference with prosecuting and defense attorneys.
Husel began working for Mount Carmel Health System as an anesthesiologist and ICU doctor in 2013 until he was fired in December 2018. Records say Husel administered at least 500 micrograms of the powerful painkiller fentanyl to each of his patients. Prosecutors say doses that large indicate an intent to end lives.
As The Ohio Star previously reported, Its internal review concluded the 44-year-old doctor had ordered potentially fatal doses for 29 patients who died over several years, including five who it said might have received the drugs when there still was a chance of improving their conditions with treatment
The 44-year-old pleaded not guilty in the deaths of 25 patients in the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System.
Husel and his lawyers deny the allegations, saying he was providing comfort care for dying patients – not trying to kill them.
The Mount Carmel hospital said it also fired 23 nurses along with the pharmacy management team, accepted the resignation of CEO Ed Lamb, and referred more employees to their respective state boards for review.
Samantha Witwer is a reporter at The Ohio Star.