COLUMBUS, Ohio — Family members and the attorneys for five former patients of Dr. William Husel will receive a combined total of $12 million to settle their wrongful death claims against Mount Carmel hospital following a medication prescribing scandal that spawned a criminal case and litigation that’s lingered for four years.
10 Investigates learned of these latest settlements from court records.
Beginnging in 2019, the patients’ families sued Dr. William Husel and Mount Carmel Health Systems claiming negligence and alleging that their loved ones received “inappropriate” doses of fentanyl and other drugs that accelerated their deaths. Experts retained by the hospital’s attorneys argued otherwise.
In recent court filings reviewed by 10 Investigates, attorneys representing the patients argued their clients received “excessive doses of fentanyl” and that the inappropriate doses could have been “caught and stopped.”
But despite this, the attorneys also acknowledged that their patients were critically ill and would not have survived for a long period of time given their illnesses.
Mount Carmel says it has administered a series of changes to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.
In court filings, their attorneys argued the doses were “reasonable” and that the patients’ conditions – not Husel’s drug orders – were the reasons for the patients’ deaths.
Husel was acquitted in April of this year of 14 counts of murder. Prosecutors alleged that the large doses of fentanyl and other drugs hastened the patients death, but jurors chose to acquit Husel on all charges. His criminal attorneys argued it was the critically ill patients’ conditions that led to their deaths.
Over the summer, Husel surrendered his medical license – which had been suspended since 2019.
While legal settlements have been reached in the 10 remaining wrongful death lawsuits that were filed by the patients’ families, probate court records detailing the exact amounts of those settlements are only available for five of the cases.
The records show the settlement amounts for the estates of the following patients:
- Melissa Penix - $4 million
- Janet Kavanaugh - $1 million
- Troy Allison - $3 million
- James Allen - $2.5 million
- James Nick Timmons - $1.5 million
To date, Mount Carmel has paid out more than $32 million to the families of former Husel patients, according to a 10 Investigates’ review of court records.
In a statement issued last month, Mount Carmel said:
“Mount Carmel has implemented many changes that enhance how our team provides the highest quality of care. There is nothing more important to us than our patients’ safety and their trust in us. The steps we have taken—and continue to take—reflect this commitment. It is our hope these settlements will bring some measure of closure and comfort to the families.”