Mount Carmel lawsuit alleges Husel convinced family patient’s condition was ‘grim’


COLUMBUS – The latest wrongful death lawsuit filed against Mount Carmel Health System, its former Dr. William Husel and caregivers alleges that the family of 63-year-old Beverly Schirtzinger was convinced by Dr. Husel that her condition was “grim” and that they should withdraw care.

Schirtzinger was brought to Mount Carmel West on October 2, 2017 due to cough, dizziness, chest pain and shortness of breath, the lawsuit states. Radiology tests identified both a mass in her lung and cancer in her liver. On October 9 – while in the ICU – Schirtzinger experienced internal bleeding and suffered cardiac arrest.

However – the lawsuit states – she was resuscitated successfully.

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The lawsuit also alleges that Schirtzinger was later given an excessive dose of fentanyl that hastened her death.

To date, 35 patients are believed to have received excessive doses of pain medication between 2014 and 2018. All of the patients died and all were under the care of Dr. William Husel, who the hospital fired in December after an internal investigation.

Husel’s medical license was suspended by the state medical board in January and his Medicaid provider agreement was also suspended. A pending criminal investigation is underway.

Thirty current caregivers at Mount Carmel have also been placed on leave for their alleged roles in approving or administering the medications.

Mount Carmel had said that all of the patients were near death and in intensive care.

But last month, Mount Carmel acknowledged that at least five patients could have seen their conditions improve with treatment.

Beverly Schirtzinger was one of those patients, according to her attorneys at the law firm of Leeseberg & Valentine.

“I almost feel like a fool. I feel like I should've questioned or something. Or how could I let this happen? So that's a struggle that we deal with now,” said Amy Pfaff, during a lengthy interview with 10 Investigates in February. “It should have happened naturally the way death should happen, not by another human being. Let alone a doctor that you trust,” Pfaff told 10 Investigates, at times choking back tears.