Mount Carmel reaches $4.65 million settlement with former patient of Dr. Husel; largest known payout to date

File Photo (WBNS-10TV)

COLUMBUS (WBNS) – The family of a former patient of Dr. William Husel has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Mount Carmel Health System for $4.65 million – the largest single payout to date since the scandal at the hospital broke earlier this year – 10 Investigates has learned.

Records obtained by 10 Investigates show that the extended family members of patient Rebecca Walls will receive more $2.6 million as part of the settlement. Attorneys representing Walls’ estate will retain $1.74 million.

Since 10 Investigates broke the story of the patient overdose scandal at Mount Carmel on January 14 – 30 wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against Dr. William Husel, Mount Carmel Health System and caregivers.

Husel was fired by the hospital in December after an internal investigation.

He also faces 25 counts of murder – accused of giving his near-death patients excessive and potentially fatal doses of fentanyl while they were under his care. Husel has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His criminal defense attorney has said in the past that Husel was providing “comfort care” to these patients who were near death and did not intend to kill them.

Prosecutors and civil attorneys representing patients’ families have alleged that the amounts of pain medication were excessive and hastened these patients’ deaths.

To date, Mount Carmel has paid out more than $9.1 million in settlements, according to 10 Investigates’ review of information reported through attorneys and probate court records.

Settlement documents obtained by 10 Investigates show that Rebecca Walls, 75, was a patient under Dr. William Husel’s care in the intensive care unit at Mount Carmel West Hospital following complications from a heart procedure performed on November 15, 2018. Her close friend, Janet Watkins, was her medical power-of-attorney.

“Based on the representations from Dr. Husel regarding Rebecca’s medical condition, Janet Watkins made the decision to switch her from “full code” status to “do not resuscitate” code status in the early morning hours of November 19, 2018. Dr. Husel thereafter ordered a fatal dose of medication (1,000 mcg of Fentanyl and 10 mcg of Versed by IV push) for Rebecca Walls. She died within minutes after being administered the lethal doses of medication,” according to the settlement.

To date, Mount Carmel has identified 35 patients of medication overdoses by Dr. Husel during a three-year time period, the settlement documents state.

Despite the fact that Watkins was not a beneficiary, attorneys noted that “individual claims for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and fraudulent misrepresentation were included” for her.

Mount Carmel sent the following statement to 10 Investigates saying: "It is our hope that these settlements will bring some measure of closure and comfort to the families. We are committed to doing what is right and fair for all families affected by this tragedy."

An attorney representing Walls said he could not comment on the settlement because of a confidentiality clause. A family member of Walls expressed the same thing when reached by phone.