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The former Mount Carmel anesthesiologist faces 14 counts of murder after prosecutors say he ordered excessive doses of painkillers that hastened the deaths of patients.

William Husel Charged With 25 Counts Of Murder

Dr. William Husel appears in court after being charged with 25 cases of murder.
Paige Pfleger
Former Mount Carmel Dr. William Husel pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon. His bond was set at $1 million

Franklin County prosecutors on Wednesday announced25 murder charges have been filed against Dr. William Husel, the former Mount Carmel intentisve care physician accused of ordering "excessive" doses of painkillers for patients who died shortly after receiving them. 

Husel worked as an anesthesiologist and ICU doctor at Mount Carmel West from 2013 until his firing in December 2018. Mount Carmel says during that time, at least 34 patients were given higher-than-usual painkiller doses under his care.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says doses of 500 micrograms of fentanyl were chosen as a threshold for murder charges because they “hastened” death of these patients. O'Brien says the doses were a violation of Ohio law that says people must be allowed to die naturally.

O'Brien did not consider nurses and pharmacists involved in the administering and dispensing of drugs to be co-conspirators. He says many of the nurses who worked alongside Husel were early in their career.

Husel surrendered to Columbus Police at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty during arraignment Wednesday afternoon. His bond was set at $1 million. 

Timeline: The Mount Carmel Scandal So Far

Husel and Mount Carmel have been named in at least 24 wrongful death lawsuits.

Responding to one lawsuit, Husel in a recent court filing denied intentionally ending a patient's life with a painkiller dose. Husel's lawyer argued the doctor is immune from lawsuits under state law.

Ed Lamb, president and CEO of the Mount Carmel Health System, said in an emailed statement on Wednesday morning that they will continue to cooperate with the investigation.

"We appreciate the County Prosecutor’s leadership and his ongoing commitment to justice in this case," Lamb said. "Following the discovery of the actions of Dr. Husel, we notified appropriate authorities, including law enforcement. We have shared information with them and will continue to fully cooperate throughout their investigation."

Lamb also said Mount Carmel is working to implement safeguards to ensure excessive doses are not given to patients in the future.

Originally, the hospital stated all patients were near-death and on life support, but later announced the conditions of five of those patients could have possibly improved.

In February, the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office released a statement saying it was investigating 29 deaths connected to Husel. 

The State Medical Board of Ohio is also investigating Husel.

If you have information to share about the Mount Carmel investigation, please 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.