3 additional wrongful death lawsuits filed against Mount Carmel, former doctor

Published:
Updated:

COLUMBUS — Three additional wrongful death lawsuits were filed Tuesday against Mount Carmel Health System, its former Dr. William Husel and nurses and pharmacists.

This brings the total to 19 wrongful death lawsuits filed in wake of the scandal at Mount Carmel in which 34 patients are believed to have received excessive doses of pain medications.

Most of the cases involved patients who the hospital has said were near death. Many were on ventilators and were given drugs like fentanyl as life support was being removed.

Advertisement - Story continues below

The hospital has said 28 of the patients are believed to have received potentially fatal doses. Six others received doses that went “beyond providing comfort” but were likely not the causes of their deaths, the hospital said.

Husel was fired December 5 following an internal investigation by the hospital. Twenty-three employees - including nurses, pharmacists and managers were placed on leave as a result of the investigation. Husel and his attorneys have previously declined to comment.

The latest wrongful death lawsuits involve patients:

  • Michael Walters, 57, who died Oct. 11, 2017
  • Virginia Brokamp, 72, who died on May 7, 2017
  • Sherry White, 73, who died on Sept. 26, 2014

Attorneys of Leeseberg and Valentine represent the families of these patients and more than a dozen others.

The law firm of Leeseberg and Valentine said that two of the latest patients named in these latest lawsuits were not part of the original group identified by the hospital. Brokamp and White were among the additional patients who the hospital later discovered their doses went “beyond providing comfort.”

In a statement, Leeseberg and Valentine said that:

“Michael presented to Mount Carmel on October 6, 2017 due to respiratory failure concerns. Michael was living in a skilled nursing facility, where he had lived for a few years due to a stroke. He was admitted to the ICU, but despite aggressive treatment his condition declined. In the early morning hours of October 11, 2017, shortly after the family agreeing to make Michael a DNR, Dr. Husel ordered 500 mcg of Fentanyl to be given by IV push, which order was approved by the pharmacist and administered by the nurse at 4:12 AM. This was approximately 30 hours after Dr. Husel provided lethal doses of 500 mcg each to Timothy Fitzpatrick and Beverlee Schirtzinger late on October 9, 2017. Michael died just 7 minutes later.

Lawsuits were also filed on behalf of the family of Virginia Brokamp (age 72) and Sherry White (age 73). Brokamp died on May 7, 2017 minutes after receiving a 200 mcg dose of Fentanyl from Dr. Husel. Sherry White died back on September 26, 2014, after receiving 200 mcg of Fentanyl ordered by Dr. Husel. Sherry White is the earliest known patient involved in the inappropriate and excessive doses of Fentanyl being ordered by Dr. Husel.”

In reports released last week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, state health inspectors noted that in 24 of the 27 patient cases reviewed, Dr. Husel used an override to bypass the hospital pharmacy and gain access to pain medications through the hospital’s automated medication dispensing machine.

Filed under: