25 Mount Carmel nurses could face discipline after nursing board issues notices

File photo - Mount Carmel West (WBNS-10TV)

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Board of Nursing issued notices Thursday to 25 Mount Carmel West and Mount Carmel St. Ann’s nurses related to the administration of drugs ordered by Dr. William Husel.

All of them could face discipline for their roles in the administration of pain medications that were given to 35 patients who died between 2014 and 2018, according to Mount Carmel.

Mount Carmel initially said that all of the patients were near death or in intensive care, but last month, the health care system admitted that at least five of the patients could have seen their conditions improve with treatment.

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Dr. Husel, a critical care intensivist, was fired by Mount Carmel in December after an internal investigation.

On Wednesday, Mount Carmel announced that the actions of 48 caregivers – including nurses and pharmacists – were under review by regulatory boards. That figure includes 30 current Mount Carmel employees who were placed on administrative leave and 18 who used to work for Mount Carmel but have since moved on. OSU Wexner said it has one nurse who is on leave who used to work at Mount Carmel.

Thursday’s announcement by the board allows the nurses the ability to request an administrative hearing before the board within the next 30 days.

The attorney general’s office will litigate the cases before the board. Discipline against the nurses could range from a reprimand to suspension or even revocation of their license.

Betsy Houchen, the executive director with the board of nursing, told reporters that the board will likely take a look if standards of practice were followed by the nurses. Nurses have a regulatory obligation to question orders made by a doctor.

“There are standards for nurses to review orders and they have the ability to question those orders so we will go through the hearing process if hearings are requested and the evidence will be taken to review whether those standards have been met or not,” Houchen said.

When asked why the nursing board takes these matters so seriously, Houchen said: “Well the accusations of a violation of patient safety, patient care, nursing care. And that's the violation of the nurse practice act and a regulatory aspect of what the board is here to protect the patients."

Houchen did not deny that she had been in contact with the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, which has an active criminal investigation looking into what happened at Mount Carmel.

10 Investigates received copies of the notices provided by the board to the 25 nurses.

Nearly all of them used an “override procedure” to access drugs like fentanyl from Mount Carmel’s medication dispensing system, according to a 10 Investigates’ review of the records.

The list of nurses provided by the board to reporters included 15 names of the nurses accused in 25 wrongful death lawsuits that have been filed against Mount Carmel, Dr. Husel and caregivers.

To date, the hospital has said that 35 patients received excessive doses of pain medication between 2014 and 2018. Mount Carmel has said that 29 of the 35 received potentially fatal doses.

Among those named by the board Thursday include Mariah Baird, Dr. Husel’s now wife who is accused in one of the lawsuits of administering an excessive dose. Another nurse, Tyler Rudman, is accused of administering doses of pain medications or paralytic drugs to at least 5 patients.

10 Investigates reached out to all 25 nurses. Most did not respond. Others have declined to comment in the past.

List of nurses:

  • Mariah Baird
  • Wesley Black
  • Jordan Blair
  • Jamie Bourke
  • Jacob Deemer
  • Derek Dreyer
  • Luke Evans
  • Joseph Forshey
  • Earl Huron
  • Yussuf Ibrow
  • McKenzie Johnson
  • Stephanie Karavian
  • Kathleen McDowell
  • Amelia Powers
  • Chad Readout
  • Troy Rudman
  • Tyler Rudman
  • Trisa Sauber
  • Jason Schulze
  • Jason Sims
  • Tyler Springer
  • Sharon Surber
  • Michaela Thompson
  • Raina Vretenar
  • Edward Wright

Mount Carmel sent the following statement to 10TV regarding the board's decision:

"We respect the actions taken by the Board of Nursing today and its role in ensuring that all nurses follow the expected standards of professional practice in our community. Mount Carmel recognized the complexities of each patient's circumstances and individual nurse actions. That's why out of an abundance of caution, we placed all nurses who were associated with medication administration for an impacted patient on paid administrative leave until ongoing investigations provide a complete understanding of individual nurse’s actions. We will continue to cooperate fully with the Board and other authorities, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of the affected patients."