Wrongful Death Lawsuits Against Mount Carmel Rise To Six

Jan 25, 2019

The fifth and sixth lawsuits against fired doctor William Husel and Mount Carmel Health System were filed Friday in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

The suits were filed on behalf of Joanna Bellisari, 69, and James George Allen, 80, both of whom died at Mount Carmel West after receiving excessive doses of fentanyl under the care of Husel.

Husel was an anesthesiologist and ICU doctor at Mount Carmel Health System. Over his tenure at the hospital, he ordered excessive doses of fentanyl for at least 34 patients. Husel was suspended on Nov. 21, 2018 and fired on December 5. Mount Carmel publicly announced Husel’s firing on January 14. Since then, multiple wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against Husel and the hospital by families of patients. 

Allen was allegedly brought to Mount Carmel West on May 24, 2018, and diagnosed with sepsis. After an initial treatment, Allen’s condition worsened, and on May 28 he was brought to the ICU and intubated. According to the lawsuit, “the family was encouraged to withdraw further care” and Allen was administered a dose of fentanyl.

Allen died 20 minutes later, just shy of his 81st birthday. 

The suit claims the “grossly inappropriate dose was either ordered negligently and not properly reviewed, or was intentionally prescribed by Defendant Husel for the purposes of hastening the termination of James Allen’s life.”

The other suit says Bellisari was given 1,000 mcg of fentanyl on May 10, 2015, and similarly claims the fentanyl dose was ordered negligently or intentionally prescribed to end Bllisari’s life. Bellisari died eight minutes after receiving the fentanyl dose.

Timeline: The Mount Carmel Scandal So Far

Both suits claim Mount Carmel’s electronic medical systems either failed to flag the order, or such alerts were ignored.

In addition to Mount Carmel and Husel, the lawsuit on behalf of Allen also names registered nurse Jacob Deemer and an unknown pharmacist as defendants. The lawsuit on behalf of Bellisari names registered nurse Trisa Sauber and pharmacist Nathan Kochheiser as defendants.

Both suits seek at least $25,000 in damages from the defendants.

If you are a Mount Carmel staffer who has information to share, or you believe your loved one or family member was impacted by this case, contact WOSU at paige.pfleger@wosu.org.