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Jury deliberations entering sixth day in Husel murder trial

Jurors concluded their deliberations Tuesday without much interruption – taking a couple of breaks throughout the day.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jurors are expected to resume their deliberations Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. in the murder trial of former Mount Carmel doctor William Husel.

Jurors concluded their deliberations Tuesday without much interruption – taking a couple of breaks throughout the day – but continued their work until leaving for the day shortly before 5 p.m.

Tuesday marked the fifth day of deliberations in the murder trial of Husel – who is accused of killing 14 of the patients under his care through overprescribing medications including fentanyl and others.

Jurors did not have a question or give any indication on whether they were still at an impasse after announcing that to the judge Monday afternoon. Shortly after that news broke, Judge Michael Holbrook gave them a charge – telling them they were the best jury to decide this case and encouraged them to keep working. They did so.

Over the course of five days, they’ve met behind closed doors for more than 30 hours.

Prosecutors have alleged that Husel – who served as a nighttime critical care physician at Mount Carmel between 2013 and 2018 – ordered dosages of medications that were excessive and hastened the deaths of the 14 patients at Mount Carmel West. Husel’s legal defense team has argued that Husel was providing comfort care medications to his patients to prevent them from suffering.

Mount Carmel fired Husel in December 2018 after questions were raised about his patient care. He was indicted in June 2019 on 25 counts of murder. Prosecutors initially focused their case on patients who received 500 micrograms of fentanyl or more around the time they were being removed from life support.

But in January 2022, prosecutors dropped 11 of the charges – focusing on 14 patients – the majority of whom got 1,000 micrograms of fentanyl or more.

Throughout the trial, jurors heard from 53 witnesses – including nurses, pharmacists, family members of patients and two medical experts for the state who said that dosages ordered by Husel killed these patients or hastened their deaths.

The defense team’s expert witness – Dr. Joel Zivot – testified that he studied these patients and concluded it was their underlying medical conditions that caused their deaths – not Husel’s drug orders.

To date, the hospital has paid out more than $20 million in legal settlements to the families of patients. Several wrongful death claims still remain pending.

Husel has filed his own defamation lawsuit against Mount Carmel Health System over his firing.

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