COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) - A lawsuit filed Monday accuses of a central Ohio doctor of giving an elderly woman a lethal dose of fentanyl.
The law firm of Leeseberg & Valentine filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mount Carmel Health System Dr. William Husel, a pharmacist and a nurse for providing the narcotic to 79-year old Janet Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh died December 11th,2017.
"It appears a number of medical professionals collaborated together are making end of life decisions about patients without permission and discussion with the patient or the patient’s families,” said Gerry Leeseberg.
Mount Carmel Health System said Doctor Husel was an employee for five years. The health system's president and CEO says during that time, he “ordered significantly excessive and potentially fatal doses of pain medication for at least 27 patients who were near death.” Kavanaugh was one of those patients.
WSYX/WTTE went to the doctor's Dublin address for comment, but no one answered the door.
Mount Carmel says Dr. Husel was fired and 20 hospital staff were removed from giving patient care while they gather more facts.
"We're doing everything to understand how this happened and what we need to do to ensure it never happens again,” explained Ed Lamb, president and CEO of Mount Carmel Health System.
In a recorded statement issued Monday night, Lamb explained how the issue was being addressed.
"A new escalation policy for increases in pain medication dosing and a new approval process for pain medication at high doses during similar situations."
Leeseberg says his firm is talking with families of other patients and an investigation is underway.
"Whether somebody passes away or not in a hospital as a result of health and medical problems, that's one thing. But, to find out that their death was hastened or that their life was terminated without their knowledge and permission by medical professionals just gives rise to a whole new set of questions."
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said in a statement Monday night “a thorough investigation is being conducted.”