Ohio’s Attorney General is urging the State Medical Board to immediately suspend the license of fired Mount Carmel doctor William Husel, who is accused of ordering “excessive doses of pain medication" for at least 34 patients.
Of those patients, 28 were given "potentially fatal" doses of the painkiller fentanyl. All patients subsequently died.
“It looks like we've got a serial killer on the loose with a medical license and access to fentanyl," Attorney General Dave Yost said in an interview Thursday.
According to Yost, if the State Medical Board suspends Husel’s license, he will have the right to a hearing within 7-15 days. Yost also requested the Ohio Department of Medicaid terminate Husel’s ability to provide service for Medicaid patients.
“It’s time to yank his license and let the police do their work," Yost wrote in a press release.
In an emailed statement, Ohio Medicaid press secretary Tom Betti said the Husel is not currently working with Medicaid recipients.
“The health and safety of all citizens is paramount and we have verified and confirmed that the person in question is not serving individuals that rely on our Medicaid program," Betti wrote.
The State Medical Board previously reported no items on Husel’s disciplinary record, but said that doesn't mean Husel was never investigated.
Earlier Thursday, Mount Carmel announced it identified seven additional patients who received excessive doses under Husel’s care. The hospital also admitted fault for failing to act promptly, and said at least three patients died between the time it received a formal report about Husel’s behavior and when it removed him from patient care duty.
"Based on what we learned about that report, we should have begun a more expedited process to investigate and consider immediate removal of Dr. Husel from patient care at that time," the hospital said.
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. The families allege they were not consulted about Husel's plan to order fentanyl, and accuse the hospital of negligence.
"A loved one is hanging by a thread and just barely clinging to life and a doctor comes and scissors off that thread with a fentanyl overdose," Yost said in an interview. "I just can't imagine what they're dealing with."
Attorney Gerald Leeseberg announced Thursday afternoon that two more lawsuits will be filed against Husel and Mount Carmel, bringing the total number of suits to six.
The Ohio Department of Health is currently investigating Mount Carmel on behalf of the federal Center For Medicare And Medicaid Services.
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 email@example.com.