The Ohio Medical Board voted Friday to suspend William Husel’s medical license. The move comes the same day the Ohio Department Medicaid revoked Husel’s provider agreement.
Husel, an anesthesiologist and ICU doctor at Mount Carmel Health System, ordered excessive doses of the painkiller fentanyl for at least 34 patients during his five-year tenure.
"Today’s board action means Husel cannot practice medicine in the state of Ohio," said a Medical Board spokesperson. "The board action is based on allegations of his failure to meet acceptable standards regarding the selection of drugs, violations of the minimal standards of care and failing to cooperate in a board’s investigation related to the doctor’s prescribing of fentanyl and midazolam to patients under his care at Mt. Carmel Health Systems."
Husel was suspended on Nov. 21, 2018, and fired December 5. Mount Carmel publicly announced his 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.
The Medical Board previously reported no items on Husel’s disciplinary record, but said that doesn't mean he was never investigated.
According to the Medical Board's citation, Husel appeared for a half-hour meeting with members on January 22 to answer questions about his conduct. The board says Husel asserted his "Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to virtually all questions," including questions about his understanding of fentanyl and if he administered drugs with the purpose of ending his patients' lives.
Husel has 30 days to request a hearing with the Medical Board. At that hearing, Husel is allowed to present evidence and examine witnesses appearing both for and against him.
Based on information from that possible hearing, or additional fact finding such as criminal charges or convictions, members of the board will decide on a permanent action. The board says it may also impose a civil penalty of up to $20,000.
The announcement comes a day after Attorney General David Yost called for the Medical Board to immediately suspend Husel’s license.
“It looks like we've got a serial killer on the loose with a medical license and access to fentanyl," Yost said in an interview Thursday.
On Friday, the Ohio Department of Medicaid suspended their provider agreement with Husel. The department says ordering excessive doses of fentanyl falls under their definition of fraud. While under suspension, Husel is prohibited from providing or ordering services for Medicaid consumers.
“The health and safety of all Ohioans, and the integrity of the Medicaid program, are paramount,” says a statement from the department. “As a result of the suspension the person in question is prohibited by law from serving individuals that rely on our program.”
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.