Mount Carmel settles 3 wrongful death lawsuits

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

COLUMBUS (WBNS) – Mount Carmel Health System, which has been embroiled in a scandal involving patients who were given excessive amounts of pain medications, has settled three wrongful death lawsuits, 10 Investigates has learned.

Court records show that the family of Mount Carmel patient Lora Jackie Stone has settled a lawsuit for $250,000. The family’s attorney received $83,000 and Stone’s three children would each receive roughly $54,000, according to probate records reviewed by 10 Investigates.

The records show that sometime in January of 2019, Mount Carmel contacted Stone’s daughter and stated that Ms. Stone “may have been the victim of Dr. William Husel. Husel was a doctor employed by Mt. Carmel who was terminated after an investigation revealed he was administering and ordering the administration of lethal doses of Fentanyl.”

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The probate court records also state: “Here in this case, although it was never determined whether Ms. Stone was given a dose which would cause her to pass prematurely, the hospital has offered $250,000 to settle this claim.”

Online court records show that two other cases involving patients Corrinnia Blake and Emma Bogan have also reached settlements.

Twenty-seven wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against Mount Carmel Health System and its former doctor, William Husel. Husel was fired in December after an internal investigation into his care with patients.

To date, 35 patients are believed to have been given excessive – or in some cases potentially fatal doses of pain medication – between 2014 and 2018.

Mount Carmel had previously said that 29 of the patients received potentially fatal dose and that six others received doses that “went beyond providing comfort” but likely were not the causes of their deaths. Thirty-four of the patients died while attending Mount Carmel West; one died at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s in Westerville.

The hospital has since said that five of the 35 patients could have seen their conditions improve with some treatment.

During a January survey, state health inspectors acting on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that in 24 of the 27 patient cases it reviewed, Dr. Husel used an override function on the hospital’s automated medication dispensing system to bypass the hospital’s pharmacy and gain access to large amounts of pain medications like fentanyl, versed or dilaudid.

Lora Jackie Stone’s case was not one that was reviewed by health inspectors in January.

Nearly all the patients were on a ventilator when they received doses of pain medication.

The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees hospital quality and patient safety, has threatened to terminate Medicare funding for Mount Carmel in wake of the scandal. Mount Carmel has made a series of changes designed to correct its deficiencies including now requiring that nurses and doctors get pharmacy approval prior to administering drugs when ventilators are being removed. There are also caps on dosages for certain medications.