Columbus attorney Mike Rourke says Rebecca Walls died Nov. 19, 2018, at Mount Carmel West hospital minutes after receiving a lethal dose of fentanyl.

She died more than three weeks after a formal complaint had been filed against Dr. William Husel. 

“The idea that they’d already been put on notice that Dr. Husel had been overmedicating patients and killing them — that they allowed him to continue to practice until they completed their investigation — it’s inexcusable,” Rourke said.

Rourke says he filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against Mount Carmel, Husel, a pharmacist, a nurse and unnamed hospital administrators.

The hospital says it received the first formal complaint about Husel Oct. 25, 2018, but did not remove him from patient care until Nov. 21. Mount Carmel has acknowledged that three patients died in that time.

The hospital has accused Husel of ordering excessive doses of painkillers for at least 34 patients in the intensive care unit including at least 28 who received potentially lethal doses.

Walls, a 75-year-old retired state worker, was admitted to Mount Carmel West Nov. 15 with shortness of breath.

Shortly after undergoing cardiac catheterization, her condition worsened and she was placed in the intensive care unit.  

Rourke says Husel urged loved ones to discontinue life-saving measures.

“There’s a real question in our minds whether this was a rush to terminate this patient,” Rourke said. “We really think that she wasn’t given a chance. She was going into kidney failure due to complications from the heart stent. We don’t think that she was given the time to have her kidneys recover to see if she could walk out of the hospital.”

Rourke says medical records show that Husel ordered that Walls be given 1000 micrograms of fentanyl and 10 milligrams of Versed. “Versed is like an accelerant,” Rourke said. “So you’re already giving a fatal dose of fentanyl and then versed is simply adding gasoline to the fire. She was dead within minutes after that injection.”

Husel was fired Dec. 5. His medical license was suspended by the state medical board Jan. 25.