COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Attorneys for both the state and eight of the nurses facing disciplinary action for their alleged roles in the administration of excessive doses of pain medicine at Mount Carmel West and Mount Carmel St. Ann’s began deposing expert witnesses on Tuesday.
The expert testimony will be used in the administrative hearings, scheduled to begin next month, from which the nurses may receive reprimands, suspensions or permanent revocations of their licenses.
The first expert to begin testifying was Sarah Blowers, a Certified Nurse Practitioner, from the Cleveland area. She was called by attorneys from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office representing the state.
Blowers spent much of the morning outlining her experience, which includes working for 14 years in an intensive care unit and specializing in palliative care.
Blowers stated that it is a nurse’s obligation to question any physician’s order which they believe may do harm to a patient.
“It’s their duty,” she testified.
When asked about their duty to question the ordering physician, she responded by saying, “…and to not administer it [a questionable drug or dose] if it’s not safe.”
Last year, Dr. William Husel was arrested and charged with 25 counts of murder. He is accused of ordering at least 500 micrograms of fentanyl for each of the 25 patients, for which he’s charged. Many of those patients were on ventilators.
According to an attorney with the Ohio Board of Nursing, the eight nurses whose cases were discussed on Tuesday are accused of administering some of those potentially fatal fentanyl doses.
Blowers testified that, in her career, she never administered more than 200 micrograms of the drug to a near-death patient whose ventilator had been removed.
In total, 25 nurses face possible disciplinary action. None of the nurses have been criminally charged.
Expert testimony, ahead of the administrative hearings, is expected to last for several days with both sides expected to depose witnesses.