Bradenton Herald – At least three wrongful death lawsuits have now been filed against Dr. William Husel, the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System, and nurses and pharmacists employed by the system.
The lawsuits accuse the doctor of ordering that near-death hospital patients get potentially fatal doses of pain medicine without their families’ knowledge.
Mount Carmel announced this week that the intensive care doctor ordered pain medicine for at least 27 patients in dosages significantly bigger than necessary to provide comfort for them after their families asked that lifesaving measures be stopped.
Mount Carmel publicly apologized and said it has fired Husel, reported findings of its internal investigation to authorities and removed 20 employees from patient care pending further review.
A lawsuit filed by David Austin on Tuesday alleges his wife, 64, was killed negligently or intentionally in September when she was given an outsize dose of the painkiller fentanyl and a powerful sedative ordered by a doctor who said she was brain-dead.
Austin, a retired trucker in Columbus, said Wednesday he filed the lawsuit in the hopes nothing like this would happen again.
He spoke emotionally of his late wife, a waitress, who he married in 1982 just three months after meeting her.
Austin, also 64, said he’s struggling to understand the doctor’s alleged actions.
“I have no idea why anybody would do that,” he said.
Medical records indicate the drugs were administered before her husband decided to withdraw life support, said attorney David Shroyer, who represents the family.
Their lawsuit was filed against Husel, the health system, a pharmacist who approved the drugs and a nurse who administered them.
The lawsuit, which seeks financial damages, is aimed at determining what happened and why, and ensuring it’s not repeated, Shroyer said.