An Ohio hospital system fired 23 employees as a result of an internal investigation into overdose deaths of 25 patients.
The Mount Carmel health system announced plans Thursday, nearly five weeks after former hospital employee Dr. William Husel, pleaded not guilty to death by overdose of his patients.
Husel, 43, is accused of deliberately prescribing lethal doses of opioids that resulted in the death of 25 patients. County Attorney Ron O'Brien said the high doses administered by the Columbus doctor "could not support any legitimate medical purpose."
In January, Mount Carmel opened an investigation into Husel's conduct and his own pharmacy practices. CEO Ed Lamb, who plans to resign following the scandal, m said a "case-by-case examination of each colleague who was part of the drug treatment and the administration of the affected patients" as well as the management were carried out.
The investigation revealed that William Husel, a physician and anesthetist in the intensive care unit, had prescribed opioids on 35 patients. Husel was suspended last fall and sent back in December. Dozens of additional employees were found partly responsible for the deaths.
Twenty-three, five of whom are responsible for monitoring doctors, nurses and pharmacists, were fired on Thursday. Eleven employees will need additional training. The rest on administrative leave.
O'Brien does not plan to charge nurses and pharmacists involved in the case. He says that they only followed Husel's orders.
"We have the ability to speak because we have a license and I understand it, but our doctor is our expert and he directs the care," said a Mount Carmel employee. told WOSU in January.
Lamb has announced that he will resign by the end of July. Clinical leader Richard Streck will retire in September.
"These past few months have been difficult for our health system and, in times like this, new leadership has the capacity to facilitate healing and help restore community confidence," Lamb said. in a statement.
Husel, who is awaiting trial, says he's comforting the dying patients without trying to kill them.