COLUMBUS, Ohio — The widow of a Mount Carmel patient testified Monday that she blamed Dr. William Husel and Mount Carmel Health System for her late husband’s death.
Christine Allison has a pending wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital system, Husel and others alleging that the dosages of fentanyl and other drugs that Husel ordered were “inappropriate” and hastened the death of her husband, Troy.
Husel’s legal team focused on that pending lawsuit during Monday’s cross-examination - noting that Christine Allison stands to financially gain from the still active lawsuit.
To date, Mount Carmel Health System has paid out more than $20 million to the families of other Husel patients, according to court records and settlements reviewed by 10 Investigates.
When asked by Husel’s attorney Diane Menashe: “You have a vested interest in this – do you not?”
Christine Allison replied: “He killed my husband.”
Menashe: “I realize that’s your belief.”
Allison: “That’s not my belief. That’s what happened. I was there. You were not.”
Menashe – along with Husel’s other defense attorney Jose Baez – have argued that many of these patients – including Troy Allison – died because they were removed from life support – not because of Husel’s drug orders, which they acknowledge were “aggressive” in order to prevent suffering. They’ve called his use of narcotics “comfort care.”
Prosecutors, meanwhile, allege that Husel’s drug orders were excessive and accelerated the deaths of these 14 patients. Husel has pleaded not guilty.
According to 10 Investigates’ review of court records, patients Troy Allison, Beverlee Schirtzinger and Nick Timmons were three of at least five patients who the hospital reportedly identified as those who could have potentially seen their conditions improve with additional medical care.
Throughout the five weeks of testimony in this murder trial, Husel’s defense team has routinely questioned the health prognosis of many of these patients, reminded the jurors about “bad deaths” and “agonal breathing” that patients can endure when their breathing tubes and ventilators are removed.
Nurses who testified last week said that Dr. Husel was approachable and always willing to help educate nurses who worked on the floor of Mount Carmel’s intensive care unit.
During Monday’s afternoon testimony, jurors heard from a prosecution expert witness – Dr. John Schweiger, a critical care specialist from Tampa.
Schweiger testified that in his experience not all patients endure pain as a result of the removal from the breathing tube and ventilator. He said that they may have other pain associated with other medical issues, but that there was a need to be “judicious” with dosing because “if you overshoot that” it can lead to a rapid deterioration of the patient’s life.
Prosecutors had indicated last week that they planned to finish their case sometime this week. The defense would then have its turn to call its own set of witnesses.