Expert: No reason for victim in Husel case to receive large dose of fentanyl

Husel Investigation

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Last year, Dr. William Husel was charged with 25 counts of murder for allegedly ordering potentially excessive doses of pain medication for patients at Mount Carmel West and Mount Carmel St. Ann’s.

The nurses involved in those cases were not criminally charged but the Ohio Board of Nursing is collecting expert testimony as it looks at possible disciplinary action for the nurses involved in this case. 

On Friday, during her fourth day of testimony, Sarah Blowers, a certified nurse practitioner, gave her expert testimony on the nurses’ actions. Blowers was asked about multiple patients and the nurses involved in their care. 

In one patient’s case, Blowers said their medical file showed the patient was given two separate paralytic drugs, but she could not find a reason for either of them. 

“If there is no indication for it, it should not be administered,” said Blowers. 

Blowers also testified that the medical record did not indicate any tests were done to ensure the patient was no longer feeling the effects of those drugs when their breathing tube was removed.

Blowers said that if the patient were still under the influence of the paralytic, there is a possibility they would have trouble breathing and not be able to alert anyone, she called that potential scenario “disturbing.”

That patient was given 2,000 micro-grams of fentanyl. When asked if she would administer an order of that size, Blowers said, “I never have given anywhere near that for the procedure… nor have I ever given a dose anywhere near that for any symptom at all.”

The defense was able to cross-examine the witness. They asked about the patients’ death certificates.

“Nothing in there (the death certificate) indicates opioid toxicity, is that correct?” asked one of the defense attorneys.

“That’s correct,” said Blowers.

The expert testimony will be used in the administrative hearings that are scheduled for next month.

More than two dozen nurses are facing disciplinary action or even loss of their license. 

While discussing one of the nurses, the defense questioned Blowers on how much responsibility the nurse has since he did not administer the medication, he only retrieved it from the pyxis machine. Attorneys asked if simply pulling a medication from the machine and not administering it could cause harm to a patient, Blowers responded that if that patient needed that medication, then yes. 

Blowers will continue her testimony at 9 a.m. on Monday, the defense told NBC4 that their witness is expected to testify on Wednesday. 

This expert testimony will be used in the administrative hearings that are scheduled for next month.

More than two dozen nurses are facing disciplinary action or even loss of their license. 

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