Three more wrongful death lawsuits were filed Tuesday against Mount Carmel Health and fired doctor William Husel, bringing the total number of suits to 12.
Gerald Leeseberg represents three more families who are bringing lawsuits on behalf of their deceased loved ones. In each case, the patients received doses of pain medication the hospital called “excessive," and subsequently died.
The lawsuits were filed on behalf of Timothy Fitzpatrick, 55, James ‘Nick’ Timmons, 39, and Larry Brigner, 70.
Husel was an anesthesiologist and ICU doctor at Mount Carmel from 2013-2018. The hospital says Husel ordered higher-than-usual doses of the painkiller fentanyl for at least 34 patients. Many of those patients died after being administered the drugs.
All three patients covered by the lawsuits came under Husel's care at Mount Carmel West: Fitzpatrick died on Oct. 9, 2017, Larry Brigner on Dec. 10, 2017, and Timmons on Oct. 24, 2018.
According to his family's lawsuit, Brigner was a Vietnam veteran who had been battling glioblastoma for several months before being admitted to Mount Carmel West. Less than six hours after Brigner was admitted, the family says they were informed Brigner's condition was not going to improve. Husel then ordered 500 micrograms of fentanyl, and Brigner died six minutes after.
Brigner died during the same shift as Janet Kavanaugh, another patient of Husel's who died on Dec.. 11, 2017. Brigner's family says they were not suspicious of Brigner's death until being alerted by Mount Carmel in late December 2018.
Husel was fired from Mount Carmel on December 5, and the hospital has since placed at least 23 nurses and pharmacists on administrative leave, including members of the management team.
Last month, the State Medical Board suspended Husel's medical license. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid last week placed the hospital in "immediate jeopardy," ordering Mount Carmel West and Mount Carmel St. Ann's to submit a corrective action plan or risk losing federal funding.
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.