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Ohio doctor charged with 25 counts of murder over opioid abuse

An Ohio doctor, scheduled to stand trial in June 2020, is accused of ordering lethal amounts of opioids leading to the deaths of 25 patients, while an investigation by the hospital where he worked says there could be even more deaths linked to his actions.

The case against Dr. William Husel, 43, focuses on incidents that occurred during a 4-year period at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s hospital and the now-closed Mount Carmel West hospital. Prosecutors say Husel ordered excessive and potentially fatal doses of fentanyl for patients who were already near death.

Hospital staffers fired after an investigation

Prosecutors charged Husel in deaths where patients were given doses of fentanyl that were five to ten times higher than was necessary to control pain. While Husel is the only person charged with murder, 23 managers, pharmacists and nurses involved in administering the lethal doses were fired, and 11 others were allowed to return to work after completing additional training.

Opioid crisis has left a disturbing mark on Ohio

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) says Ohio led the nation in opioid overdose deaths from 2014 to 2016. The DEA estimates that doctors prescribed 3.4 million pain pills from 2006 to 2012, and at the peak in 2010, they wrote 102.4 opioid prescriptions for every 100 citizens.

The DEA noted the escalation in opioid-induced fatalities as fentanyl and similar drugs accounted for only 4% of overdose deaths in 2013 but skyrocketed to 70% by 2017. The state responded with a new range of rules and regulations for opioid use while allowing some flexibility for doctors to individualize the needs of patients. If you or a loved one are harmed by the negligence of doctors or other medical personnel, an experienced attorney can help hold them accountable.