Doctor: Fentanyl dose was clearly excessive

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A doctor who says he reviewed the medical records of a patient at the center of one of the wrongful death lawsuits against a now fired doctor and the Mount Carmel Health System, is now explaining what he found.

Last week, the Mount Carmel Health System announced it had fired Dr. William Husel who Hospital leaders said was responsible for ordering “…significantly excessive and potentially fatal doses of pain medication for at least 27 patients who were near death.”

Since then, several wrongful death lawsuits have been filed, including one on behalf of the family of Bonnie Austin.

According to David Shroyer, the family’s attorney, Austin died on September 30, 2018.

The lawsuit states Austin was transported to Mount Carmel West on that date, she was stabilized and later admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

Also according to the lawsuit, Husel ordered that 600 micrograms of Fentanyl and a large dose of Versed be given to Austin, through her IV.

Shroyer said Austin died approximately 30 minutes after the drugs were given to her.

Schweiger has reviewed Austin’s medical records, as an independent expert for Schroyer.

The Florida-based anesthesiologist and critical care director said Austin had suffered a critical brain injury, but her condition did not warrant the dose of drugs she was administered.

“It was clearly an excessive dose of fentanyl given that at the time it was ordered, the patient was not showing any signs of pain whatsoever by the nurses who were observing the patient,” Schwieger explained.

NBC4 asked Schweiger if there was a scenario where 600 micrograms of fentanyl would be appropriate.

“We would only use those doses in extreme situations, routinely in the operating room for a patient who is actively undergoing either cardiac or trauma surgery with very careful monitoring, but in terms of a patient such as Mrs. Austin, who had been stabilized on life support, there would be no reason to give more than 100 and maximally 200 micrograms of fentanyl,” Schwieger explained.

A spokeswoman from Mount Carmel has said state and federal laws prevent anyone with the hospital from commenting on specific cases.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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