Ohio Critical Care Doctor Charged with 25 Counts of Murder
Dr. William Husel has been charged with 25 counts of first-degree murder after ordering lethal doses of fentanyl for multiple patients under his care. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. 63-year-old Beverlee Schirtzinger was one of the 25 who died in Husel’s care. Authorities say that Husel ordered 500 mg of fentanyl for the woman, who died as a result of the medication. The prosecution will present an expert witness who will testify that 500 mg of fentanyl is an excessive dose that has no therapeutic value at all. Prosecutors say they will focus on instances in which Husel ordered 500 mg of fentanyl or more to patients.
After Schirtzinger died, family members were told that her prognosis was grim. They now wonder if there is any truth to that at all and if her death could have been avoided entirely. Meanwhile, Husel faces 15 years to life on 25 counts of murder. If convicted, he will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. However, authorities do not have a motive for Husel’s actions.
“Numerous Patients” Die in Husel’s Care
In December of 2018, police received a complaint to look into Husel noting that “numerous” patients had died in his care. The hospital that Husel worked for, Mount Carmel Health, said that a staffer had alerted them to Husel’s actions which sparked an internal investigation. An attorney for the hospital then reached out to authorities.
Investigators then began to dig into Husel’s records. They reviewed cases of 35 individuals who died in Husel’s care. As news broke of the charges, Mount Carmel Health issued a public apology and now faces multiple lawsuits for not catching the problem sooner. That being said, they did alert authorities to the problem.
In many cases, doctors are not employees of the hospital. They are similar to independent contractors who are paid by the hospital. Nonetheless, hospitals have a non-delegable duty to provide their patients with the best care they can. If a doctor injures a patient negligently, the hospital can be found liable when their own negligence is implicated.
One would assume that there were records of what Husel was doing and, had the hospital reviewed these records, many of the subsequent deaths could have been avoided. Husel maintains that he never intended to kill anyone and that he was not performing mercy killings.
The Claims Against the Hospital
The hospital could be facing as many as 35 medical malpractice lawsuits. Regardless of whether Husel killed his patients intentionally or not, giving a patient a lethal dose of a medication violates the prevailing standard of care for the practice of medicine. Families can be compensated for their grief, lost earnings of their loved one, and more.
Talk to an Ohio Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you have been injured by a negligent doctor, the attorneys at Lafferty, Gallagher, & Scott can file a lawsuit on your behalf and recover damages for your injuries. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent practice of medicine, we can file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf. Talk to us today for a free consultation.