Mount Carmel Health System has named Lorraine Lutton as its next CEO. She takes over at a pivotal time for the Columbus-based hospital network, which is battling state scrutiny and dozens of lawsuits over the dosing practices of fired doctor William Husel.
Lutton previously worked as president and CEO of Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston, South Carolina, according to a press release Monday from parent company Trinity Health.
“Lorraine is a strategic, forward-thinking leader with broad experience in health care, and we are thrilled she is joining the Mount Carmel team,” said Mount Carmel board chair Jordan Hansell in a statement. “We are confident she will lead our ministry forward and will ensure we continue to serve our community with the compassion and excellence that have been our hallmarks for 134 years.”
Mount Carmel runs four hospitals in Central Ohio: East, outside of Reynoldsburg; Grove City; New Albany; and St. Ann's in Westerville.
The hospital says that Michael Englehart, who stepped up as interim CEO in July, will return to his former role as a senior vice president of Trinity Health.
Lutton is Mount Carmel’s first full-time CEO since the resignation of Ed Lamb, who stepped down in July 2019 following an internal investigation into Husel’s conduct.
As Mount Carmel announced Lamb’s resignation, the hospital fired 23 other employees, including five members of the nursing, pharmacy and physician management teams involved in Husel’s cases.
"This was a difficult decision," Lamb said in a video provided by the hospital. "I truly want the best for this organization, for our colleagues and for the people we serve."
Husel, an ICU doctor and anesthesiologist, is accused of giving higher-than-normal doses of painkillers to dozens of patients, all of whom died after receiving the drugs. Mount Carmel fired Husel in December 2018.
Two dozen wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against Mount Carmel, Husel, nurses and pharmacists by the families of Husel's patients. The hospital has already settled several lawsuits so far, at a cost of about $13.5 million.
Last week, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy charged Mount Carmel nearly $480,000 in penalties connected to the hospital’s dosing policies and procedures. Among the allegations was that Mount Carmel failed to investigate any medication overrides by nurses, which “contributed to the death of 28 patients.”
Franklin County authorities charged Husel with 25 counts of murder, one of the largest murder cases in state history. He pleaded not guilty on all counts.
In December, Husel filed a lawsuit accusing Lamb and Mount Carmel of defamation and breach of contract. That same month, 10 former employees filed their own lawsuit claiming defamation and wrongful termination, saying that neither the doctor nor the nurses or pharmacists who worked alongside him violated hospital procedures.
Husel's criminal trial is scheduled for June 2020, and jury selection is set to begin in late May.