Expert testimony continues in Mount Carmel nurse hearings

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

COLUMBUS (WBNS) – A hospice nurse with experience in intensive care units testified Wednesday that a Mount Carmel nurse had a duty to question the medication orders of Dr. William Husel and that failing to do so may fall under the standards of care for a nurse.

Sarah Blowers is an expert witness for the state of Ohio.

Her testimony this week will be coupled with that of other expert witnesses who could testify at upcoming disciplinary hearings for Mount Carmel nurses tied to the patient overdose scandal. A total of 25 nurses could face discipline for their alleged roles in the scandal.

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Mount Carmel Health System has said a total of 35 patients received either excessive or potentially fatal doses of pain medications – including fentanyl.

The hospital fired Dr. William Husel in December of 2018 following an internal investigation that raised questions about his patient care.

He was later charged in June of 2019 with 25 counts of murder but has pleaded not guilty.

His previous criminal attorney, Richard Blake, said his client did not intend to kill the patients but was providing comfort care to patients in their final moments of life.

Prosecutors have said they chose to focus their criminal case on the 25 patients who received 500 micrograms of fentanyl or more.

The nurses and pharmacists tied to the cases were not criminally charged but could face discipline from their respective licensing agencies.

The hearing notices sent out to 25 nurses named by the nursing board state that they had a duty to question the medication orders or should have known some of the doses could have caused potential harm.

The names of the patients are protected during this week’s depositions. While reporters are barred from video or audio recording of the hearings, they can attend and take notes.

The depositions are expected to continue this week and next.