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William Husel To Appear Before State Medical Board In July

Fired Mount Carmel doctor William Husel
Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel
Fired Mount Carmel doctor William Husel

Fired Mount Carmel doctor William Husel will appear in front of the State Medical Board on July 22 to appeal the suspension of his medical license. The hearing will be open to the public.

The State Medical Boardtemporarily suspendedHusel’s medical license on January 25, following Mount Carmel’s report that the doctor ordered “excessive” doses of pain medication for dozens of patients. The hospital now says at least 35 patients were affected by Husel's actions.

Husel had 30 days from when the board suspended his license to request a hearing. His legal team did so last Friday, February 22. At the hearing, Husel is allowed to present evidence and examine witnesses appearing both for an against him.

WOSU obtained documents the medical board is compiling for Husel’s hearing, including information about Husel’s three misdemeanor convictions for crimes committed in 1994. Those crimes include theft and constructing and storing a pipe bomb. The documents also include a contract with a Cincinatti-based critical care doctor, Erich Walder, who the board will call as an expert witness.

In mid-February, the board issued Husel a citation, saying they were working to determine if they should permanently revoke his license. The citation discussed six cases in which Husel ordered 1,000 micrograms or more of the pain medication fentanyl. The board stated that Husel’s acts constitute a “departure from, or the failure to conform to, minimal standards of care of similar practitioners.”

As well as having his license revoked, Husel could face civil penalties of up to $20,000 in addition to other disciplinary actions.

All 35 patients identified by the hospital died after receiving the painkiller doses. The hospital recently reportedthat there may have been opportunities for conditions of five of those patients to improve.

Timeline: The Mount Carmel Scandal So Far

On Jan. 22, 2019, Husel appeared for a half-hour meeting with the board about his conduct, but asserted his "Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to virtually all questions." Husel declined to answer questions about his understanding of fentanyl and if he administered drugs with the purpose of ending his patients' lives.

Announcing their decision to temporarily suspend Husel’s license just days later, a Medical Board spokesperson said the action was “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 worked as an anesthesiologist and ICU doctor at Mount Carmel from 2013 until 2018. The hospital system fired Husel on Dec. 5, 2018.

Since Husel's firing was announced in January, 22 wrongful death lawsuits have been filed by the families of his patients. Three of those lawsuits were filed just this week, on behalf of 55-year-old Corrinnia Blake, 83-year-old Thelma Kyer, and 78-year-old Lora Stone.

The Franklin County Prosecutor's office is currently investigating the case.

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 paige.pfleger@wosu.org.

Paige Pfleger is a former reporter for WOSU, Central Ohio's NPR station. Before joining the staff of WOSU, Paige worked in the newsrooms of NPR, Vox, Michigan Radio, WHYY and The Tennessean. She spent three years in Philadelphia covering health, science, and gender, and her work has appeared nationally in The Washington Post, Marketplace, Atlas Obscura and more.