COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A joint statement issued Thursday from the Franklin County Prosecutor and the Columbus Division of Police offers some insight into the scope of the Mount Carmel investigation.
The statement also reveals that Dr. William Husel, the man at the center of the investigation, has surrendered his passport at the request of authorities.
Mount Carmel Health System says it has identified at least 35 patients who were affected by excessive dosing of pain medication including at least 29 who received potentially fatal doses.
The prosecutor initiated a criminal investigation in December after Mount Carmel representatives contacted law enforcement with information about the deaths.
The statement issued Thursday confirms that investigators are looking at 29 separate deaths.
“There are dozens of witnesses that must be interviewed, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and families of patients. There are thousands of pages of medical records that must first be obtained and reviewed by police and prosecutors but then by expert medical witnesses.”
The statement said it will be a “thorough investigation of complex ethical, medical, and legal issues.”
At least 21 lawsuits have been filed so far on behalf of the families of patients who died after receiving excessive doses of pain medication including Fentanyl and Dilaudid.
Husel was fired by Mount Carmel in December.
His medical license was suspended in January.
He has declined to comment.
His attorney, Richard Blake told NBC4 they “adamantly dispute” Mount Carmel’s characterization of events and they continue to work with the prosecutor’s office and continue to review hospital records as they are made available.
Blake also confirmed Dr. Husel willingly surrendered his passport while the investigation continues.
Mount Carmel also issued a statement Thursday afternoon acknowledging the work of investigators:
We appreciate the candor of the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office and the Columbus Division of Police as well as their ongoing commitment to pursuing justice. The deaths of patients under the care of Dr. William Husel are tragic. The facts of these cases are complex, and the ongoing nature of the investigations means that new information can continue to surface.
The total number of patients involved is at least 35. There were 29 patients who received potentially fatal doses of medication. The other six patients received excessive doses that went beyond providing comfort but it was likely not the cause of their deaths. We included these six patients in our findings because it was the right thing to do for these patients and their families.
As we learn more, we will share our findings with the appropriate authorities and each affected family, and we will communicate the changes we are making with the community, so that every patient and their family can continue to trust Mount Carmel for their care.