COLUMBUS — A 24th wrongful-death lawsuit has been filed in the continuing fallout of a Mount Carmel Health System investigation into critical-care patients given excessive doses of painkillers shortly before their deaths.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court names Mount Carmel and Dr. William Husel, who worked as an intensive-care doctor for the system from 2013 until his firing in December.
In the suit, John Francies of Grove City says his wife, Peggy, died on Oct. 9, 2017, after receiving an excessive dose of the opioid fentanyl ordered by Husel at Mount Carmel West hospital in Franklinton.
Mount Carmel has said that the 43-year-old Husel, of Liberty Township near Dublin, ordered excessive painkiller doses for 35 critically ill patients dating to at least 2015, with 29 of the doses potentially fatal. The doctor's license has been suspended, and law enforcement authorities are investigating.
Husel's criminal defense attorney has said he did not intend to kill anyone, and his civil defense attorney has argued in court filings that he is immune from civil litigation and not liable for damages from such lawsuits.
The suit filed Tuesday says Peggy Francies, 73, had been taken to the hospital the day before her death with septic shock related to kidney failure and died 35 minutes after a 200 microgram dose of fentanyl was administered for removal of a breathing machine.
It does not appear that her death is among 28 reviewed by the Ohio Department of Health in inspections at Mount Carmel West and Mount Carmel St. Ann's hospital in Westerville after Husel's firing. Those reviewed involved doses of fentanyl of at least 400 micrograms for all but one patient, who received a different painkiller.
One of the inspection reports indicates that a Mount Carmel policy updated after Husel’s firing says the usual adult dose of fentanyl is 50 to 100 micrograms.
Mount Carmel has said that families of the 35 patients identified in its ongoing investigations have been notified.
The lawsuit says that John Francies has not received communication from Mount Carmel but recently learned that administrators were trying to reach him to tell him his wife had received an excessive doe of fentanyl.