A fourth lawsuit has been filed against Mount Carmel Health System and Dr. William Husel.
The latest suit was filed behalf of Jan Thomas, who died March 1, 2015 at Mount Carmel Hospital. The suit was submitted on January 22 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.
According to the complaint, Thomas was transported to Mount Carmel after being found unresponsive at her Columbus home. She was admitted to the ICU, where she came under the care of Husel.
The complaint says Husel contacted Thomas’ family to tell them she was on life support and to ask if lifesaving measures should be stopped. There was no mention of fentanyl, a powerful painkiller. Husel ordered 800 micrograms of the medication for Thomas, and according to medical records, she died minutes later. She was 65.
Thomas is one of 27 near-death patients identified by Mount Carmel Health System to have been given an “excessive and potentially fatal” dose of fentanyl by Husel, who was fired Dec. 5, 2018. All 27 patients subsequently died.
Thomas’ family was contacted by the hospital December 28 to say that the hospital was conducting an investigation after discovering Husel's actions. Mount Carmel did not publicly announce Husel's firing until Jan. 14, 2019.
The suit accuses Mount Carmel of negligence, and says institutional failings meant that Thomas "suffered physical pain, mental anguish, medical bills, and ultimately, death."
"Despite the grossly inappropriate order for an excessive dose of Fentanyl, Mount Carmel's electronic medical records system either failed to alert Jan Thomas' health care providers that the order appeared to be placed in error or her health care providers ignored the alert because the dosage was intentionally prescribed by Dr. Husel for the purpose of ending Jan Thomas' life," reads the complaint.
In the wake of the Husel scandal, Mount Carmel updated its internal medication guidelines to prevent such errors. Last week, the Ohio Department of Health announced it launched an investigation into the Mount Carmel Health System.
The lawsuit seeks punitive damages of at least $25,000 from each defendant.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.