An Ohio University graduate is allegedly responsible for the deaths of 34 patients over five years at a Columbus hospital.

William Husel worked at Mount Carmel Health System for five years. In this time he ordered excessive and potentially fatal drugs to at least 34 patients, according to a Mount Carmel statement.

Husel graduated from Ohio University in 2008 with a doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine.

Twenty additional hospital staff were removed from providing further patient care, including nurses and pharmacists.

There have been 34 patients involved and Mount Carmel anticipates more could be discovered, Ed Lamb, CEO of Mount Carmel, said in a statement. 

Of the 34 patients, six were given excessive amounts of the pain medication fentanyl but were likely not the cause of death.

“We saw… this fentanyl administration of 1,000 micrograms,” Gerald Leeseberg, attorney at Leeseberg and Valentine, said in an interview with The Columbus Dispatch. “When we consulted with our medical expert and he said that there was no therapeutic justification for that.”

Fentanyl is an opioid that was developed for pain management for cancer treatments and is 80-100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

“We are investigating whether Dr. Husel ordered excessive doses of medication when there was still opportunity to explore if there were reversible causes of patients’ immediate conditions,” Lamb said in a statement.

Husel pleaded guilt in a federal misdemeanor charge in 1996 after he stored a pipe bomb in a dorm room. He used the bomb to blow up a trash can when he was studying at a “small Catholic university,” according to a Columbus Dispatch report.

“Husel was originally indicted in June 1996 on three charges that included malicious damage by means of explosive device and unlawful making of an explosive device. He pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of improperly storing explosive materials and was sentenced to serve six months in a community confinement center, followed by one year of supervision,” according to a Columbus Dispatch report. “Court records don’t indicate if that time was served.”

Mount Carmel received a report on Oct. 25, 2018, but did not fire Husel until Nov. 21, 2018. Husel’s medical license has been suspended by the state of Ohio.

Leeseberg and Valentine is a law firm that is working with 15 of the families of the victims.

“We haven’t seen… a physician who has intentionally given lethal excessive doses of a very dangerous drug to patients,” Anne Valentine, attorney for Leeseberg and Valentine, said.

Mount Carmel let the families of the patients know that they had likely been given a lethal dose of fentanyl, Valentine said. 

Mount Carmel brought outside experts to help with the investigation.

“These reports are shocking, and our thoughts are with the families that are grieving their loved ones. The alleged actions do not reflect the values and ethics of patient care we teach our medical students at Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine,” according to a university statement.

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