Ohio Hospital reports 48 nurses, pharmacists above doses and deaths

The Ohio hospital system, where an intensive care physician is accused of having dozens of patients take painkillers, has sent more employees on leave and changed key leaders into the hospital where almost all those deaths occurred.

Mount Carmel Health System said 48 nurses and pharmacists who are being assessed have been reported to their respective councils. Thirty of those employees have been taken on leave and there are no more working 18, including some who left years ago, according to the system.

"We have great confidence in our colleagues and leadership, but we understand that these events are likely to cause the communities where we operate to wonder what this situation allowed us to develop and sustain," said CEO Ed Lamb in a statement. He said that Mount Carmel has taken several steps to address those concerns and to ensure that patients can trust that it provides safe care.

Every employee who was involved in administering medication for affected patients has been removed from precaution as a precaution, Lamb said, noting that their actions are being assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The health system also said that Mount Carmel West Hospital in Columbus has a new interim clinical leadership and new leaders in its intensive care unit, whose former doctors, nursing and pharmacy leaders are among those on administrative leave .

Mount Carmel discovered that Dr. William Husel ordered potentially fatal drug doses for 29 patients over several years, including five who may have received pain medication if there was still a chance to improve their treatment conditions. The hospital system said that six additional patients received doses that were excessive but unlikely to cause their death.

Police and prosecutors are investigating 29 deaths and the prosecutor's office is also conducting a Medicaid fraud investigation regarding Husel. The state's medical council has suspended its license and the hospital dismissed it in December.

Husel and Mount Carmel are now faced with at least two dozen lawsuits.

In response to a number of them, a Husel lawyer denied that the doctor had the patient die by negligence or intentionally. Husel did not respond publicly.

The public apologized when the allegations became public and the affected families started filing cases of wrongful death.

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