Troy Allison's death and at least 33 others involving Mount Carmel patients from 2015 to 2018 remain part of a wider internal investigation into Dr. William Husel, who treated them, and why the intensive care doctor allegedly ordered "significantly excessive and potentially fatal" doses of pain medication in 28 of the cases, according to the hospital.
Husel's medical license was suspended Friday by the State Medical Board of Ohio, which said the allegations against him were so serious that he was not afforded a hearing prior to the board's vote and can no longer practice medicine in the state.
Yet, key questions remain unanswered: Why such high doses, and were they the result of repeated mistakes — or intentionally meant to be deadly?
Doctors, pharmacists and lawyers who spoke with NBC News say hospitals such as Mount Carmel, one of the largest health systems in Ohio, have multiple safeguards in place that should prevent patients from being overmedicated to death. There are checks and balances allowing those in the chain of command to trigger an alarm, the medical experts added, so that an error can be avoided or reviewed after the fact, including during emergency situations in which dangerous drugs such as fentanyl are used.Related
"We know that the risk for error goes up in chaotic situations, but hospitals have worked hard to limit these risks and do a very good job protecting safety in fast-paced environments like the emergency room or intensive care unit," said Dr. Daniel Tobin, an associate professor of medicine at Yale University and a leading expert on opioid safety.
At least six wrongful death lawsuits have been filed on behalf of deceased patients, including Troy Allison, alleging Husel ordered the doses either negligently or purposefully in order to hasten the end of their lives.
All Christine Allison knows is that her husband of 11 years, her best friend and a father of two, was taken from her — and she wants Husel to explain why.
"He actually seemed very kind and very compassionate. I trusted him," she said of the doctor. "Now I think he needs to be in prison. The system failed."
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