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Ohio doctor accused of overprescribing fentanyl to the dying found not guilty of murder

An Ohio doctor accused of ordering excessive amounts of painkillers that led to multiple deaths at a Columbus hospital has been acquitted of 14 counts of murder Wednesday following a weeks-long trial. William Husel, 46, was accused of ordering medicines for patients at the Mount Carmel Health System. He was charged with at least 500 micrograms of the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Prosecutors said ordering such doses for a non-surgical condition indicated an intention to end lives. Husel’s lawyers argued that he provided palliative care to the dying patients, not trying to kill them. Franklin County Judge Michael Holbrooke told jurors before the consultation began that they could also consider smaller charges of attempted murder. They talked for six days. Hussel would face up to 15 years in prison with parole if convicted of just one count of murder. Prosecutors have been present since February 22 and have placed 53 prosecution witnesses before resting on March 29. These controls included medical experts who testified that Husel ordered up to 20 times more fentanyl than was needed to control pain. Husel gave enough fentanyl to some patients to “kill an elephant,” said Dr. Wes Ely, a physician and professor at Vanderbilt University. Other witnesses included medical experts, Mount Carmel staff, researchers and 14 members. patients. Instead, defense attorneys called in a single witness – a Georgian anesthesiologist – to testify that Husel’s patients died from their medical condition, not from Husel’s actions. The defense rested on March 31 after one day. The age of the patients who died ranged from 37 to 82. The first death of a patient was in May 2015. The last three died in November 2018. During the final discussions on April 11, David Zeyen, the assistant attorney general of the county Franklin told jurors that no matter how close a patient is to death, it is illegal to speed up the process. Hussel’s lawyer, Jose Baez, reiterated during a televised press conference after the verdict that prosecutors had not produced “a piece of evidence” to substantiate their allegations. He called Husel an “incredible doctor” who with his family is “incredibly relieved by the nightmare that ended”. “I’m deeply saddened that William had to go through this,” Baez said. The Franklin County Attorney’s Office issued a brief statement concluding: “We accept the jury verdict.” Hussel was fired from the Mount Carmel Health System. He concluded that he had ordered excessive painkillers for about three dozen patients who had died in several years. He was initially charged with 25 counts of murder, but the judge agreed to drop 11 of those charges in January. Husel’s colleagues who administered the drugs were not prosecuted, but the hospital system said it had fired 23 nurses, pharmacists and research directors and referred several officials to their respective state councils for possible disciplinary action. Mount Carmel has reached a total settlement of more than $ 16.7 million for the deaths of at least 17 patients, while more lawsuits are pending. One patient, 82-year-old Melissa Penix, took 2,000 micrograms of fentanyl and died minutes later. Dr John Schweig of Tampa Bay General Hospital testified about the prosecution that Penix “was certainly not a terminal, nor was the continuation of medical treatment in vain.” “She was a fighter,” said Penix’s daughter Bev Leonhard of Grove City, according to The Columbus Dispatch. “She did not deserve to die as she deserved.”

An Ohio doctor is accused of ordering excessive amounts of painkillers who led to several deaths of patients at a Columbus area hospital, was acquitted of 14 counts of murder on Wednesday after a trial that lasted weeks.

Dr. William Husel, 46, was charged of ordering medicines for patients in the Mount Carmel Health System. He was charged with at least 500 micrograms of the powerful painkiller fentanyl.

Prosecutors said ordering such doses for a non-surgical condition indicated an intention to end lives. Husel’s lawyers argued that he provided palliative care to dying patients, not trying to kill them.

Franklin County Judge Michael Holbrooke told jurors before the consultation began that they could also consider smaller charges of attempted murder. They talked for six days.

Huzel would face up to 15 years in prison with parole if convicted of just one count of murder.

Prosecutors have been present since February 22 and put 53 prosecution witnesses before resting on March 29th. These controls included medical experts who testified that Husel ordered up to 20 times more fentanyl than was needed to control pain.

Hussel gave enough fentanyl to some patients to “kill an elephant,” said Dr. Wes Ely, a physician and professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University.

Other prosecution witnesses included medical experts, Mount Carmel staff, researchers and family members of all 14 patients.

In contrast, defense attorneys called only one witness – Anesthesiologist in Georgia – to testify that Husel’s patients died from their medical condition and not from Husel’s operations. The defense rested on March 31 after one day.

The age of the patients who died ranged from 37 to 82. The first death of patients was in May 2015. The last three died in November 2018.

During the final debate on April 11, David Zeyen, Franklin County Assistant Attorney General, told jurors that no matter how close a patient is to death, it is illegal to speed up the process.

Huzel Jose Baez’s lawyer during a remote press conference after the verdict reiterated his claim that prosecutors did not provide “a piece of evidence” to substantiate their allegations. He called Hussel an “incredible doctor” who with his family “incredibly relieved the nightmare is over”.

“I’m deeply saddened that William had to go through this,” Baez said.

The Franklin County Attorney’s Office issued a brief statement concluding: “We accept the jury verdict.”

Hussel was fired from the Mount Carmel Health System. He concluded that he had ordered excessive painkillers for about three dozen patients who had died in several years. He was initially charged with 25 counts of murder, but the judge agreed to reject 11 of these measurements in January.

Husel’s colleagues who administered the drugs were not prosecuted, but the hospital system said it fired 23 nurses, pharmacists and directors after an internal investigation and referred several officials to the relevant state councils for possible disciplinary action.

Mount Carmel has reached a total settlement of more than $ 16.7 million for the deaths of at least 17 patients, while more lawsuits are pending.

One patient, 82-year-old Melissa Penix, received 2,000 micrograms of fentanyl and died minutes later. Dr John Schweig of Tampa Bay General Hospital testified about the prosecution that Penix “was certainly not a terminal, nor was the continuation of medical treatment in vain.”

“She was a fighter,” said Penix’s daughter Bev Leonhard of Grove City, according to The Columbus Dispatch. “She did not deserve to die as she deserved.”

Ohio doctor accused of overprescribing fentanyl to the dying found not guilty of murder Source link Ohio doctor accused of overprescribing fentanyl to the dying found not guilty of murder

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