The attorney for Dr. William Husel is requesting a stay in the civil proceedings his client still faces, while the criminal case against the doctor continues.
Two weeks ago, Husel was charged with 25 counts of murder.
According to the indictment, he is accused of ordering between 500 and 2,000 micrograms of fentanyl for more than two dozen patients, while they were in the Mount Carmel intensive care unit.
Husel pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and he has been released from jail on a $1 million bond. He was not at Tuesday’s hearing.
On Tuesday, Husel’s civil attorney argued in court that the doctor would assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if deposed in any of the wrongful death proceedings.
“Because of the criminal charges, he can’t defend himself,” said Gregory Foliano. “He can not testify. I can not appropriately defend him without revealing to prosecutors the underlying defenses in the criminal case.”
The attorneys for the families of the patients involved in these cases, responded to Foliano’s claims.
“One would hope that he can defend Dr. Husel, as he purports an interest in doing, without incriminating him and there is no prohibition against us finding out from Dr. Husel and his counsel what his defenses are going to be,” said Gerry Leeseberg.
The family’s attorneys also argued that there are dozens of witnesses who could be deposed, and millions of pages of documents that could be subpoenaed, if the motion for a stay is denied.
“I think it’s very important to find the root cause,” said David Shroyer, one of those attorneys. “Why did this happen? How did it go on for all these years? Once we determine that root cause, it’s going to be important for all hospitals to incorporate that and make sure this doesn’t happen at some other hospital, at some future date.”
An attorney for Mount Carmel also argued in support of the stay.
After the hearing, Mount Carmel issued the following statement:
Since learning of the deaths of patients under the care of Dr. Husel, Mount Carmel has been transparent when able to do so, and we have made changes to ensure nothing like this can ever happen again.
Mount Carmel is working with the families’ counsel to resolve these matters fairly outside of the court process. If not successful, Mount Carmel has every intention to respond and will do so through the appropriate legal channels.
The legal request for a temporary pause is common when ongoing governmental and criminal investigations are occurring at the same time as civil lawsuits to protect the rights of all involved. We will honor any decision the court makes and will continue to cooperate fully with all legal investigations and proceedings. Mount Carmel stands by its commitment to doing what is right and fair for the families affected by these events. For more information about Mount Carmel’s previous statements and actions relating to this situation, visit the facts page on MountCarmelHealth.com.Mount Carmel Health statement
The magistrate overseeing Tuesday’s hearing did not rule on the motion.