COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Mount Carmel Health System’s CEO says he plans to resign, six months after the hospital was sued for wrongful death related to the deaths of 35 people.
The hospital system announced Thursday that it has concluded its investigation into the administration of high doses of fentanyl to 35 patients. As a result, 23 employees were fired, including doctors, nurses and pharmacy managers.
Eleven further employees will return to work after completing further training and education. One employee will remain on administrative leave.
CEO Ed Lamb will resign as of July 25.
Another executive, Dr. Richard Streck, executive VP & Chief Clinical Officer for Mount Carmel, will retire at the end of September.
Attorney David Shroyer represents the families of four patients who he says died under Husel’s care.
He says Thursday’s developments will have no impact on the wrongful death lawsuits he has filed against Husel and Mount Carmel.
“It has been nine months since they’ve known,” Shroyer said. “They’ve taken steps to suspend people and terminate people, but we still don’t have any answers yet. That’s what my job is in presenting these civil cases. It’s to find out what happened, why it happened and how do we prevent it from happening in the future.”
Dr. William Husel is facing 25 counts of murder in connection with the case.
Hussel was fired from the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System in December and stripped of his medical license after the allegations against him began to surface. An internal hospital investigation found that he had ordered potentially fatal drug doses for dozens of patients over his five years at the hospital.
A lawyer for Husel has said he did not intend to kill anyone.
The hospital released the following statement regarding today’s update:
After many months, our review of patient cases under the care of Dr. William Husel has come to a conclusion. As we have done throughout this process, we have an update to share with our colleagues, patient families and community about what we have learned and the actions we are taking to chart a new path for Mount Carmel and ensure this never happens again.
-Based on our extensive review of records of patients treated by Dr. Husel, the total number of affected patients remains 35, as previously communicated.
-We have examined the individual role of every colleague who was a part of the medication administration for the affected patients. After careful case-by-case analysis of colleague involvement and the members of management involved in oversight of those colleagues, we have made the following staffing decisions:
–We are keeping one colleague on administrative leave.
–We are terminating the employment of 23 colleagues—including 5 physician, nursing and pharmacy management team members—effective today.
–Eleven colleagues will have the opportunity to return to work after they complete additional training and education.
Returning Colleagues to Work After Training
Bringing colleagues back to work is a significant decision, and all who have been involved in the review process are confident in the decision to return these individuals to clinical care positions.
While the changes implemented throughout our system already are significant, I am personally compelled to do all that I can to move Mount Carmel beyond this tragedy.
Mount Carmel is a strong regional system with a steadfast commitment to providing people-centered care today and for generations to come. These last months have been difficult for our healthcare system, and, in times such as these, new leadership has the ability to facilitate healing and help restore the trust of the community.
With that in mind, I am announcing two senior leadership changes we are making. First, Dr. Richard Streck, Executive VP & Chief Clinical Officer for Mount Carmel, will retire at the end of September.
In addition, I will resign as CEO of Mount Carmel as of July 25. This was a difficult decision, but one that is in the best interest of our organization, our colleagues and the people we serve.
Trinity Health will soon appoint an interim CEO for Mount Carmel, and I will work with that leader to ensure a smooth transition. Mount Carmel has a strong leadership team in place to support the interim CEO, and I am confident our dedicated colleagues will serve our community well.
I am certain Mount Carmel will continue to learn from these events and grow in the future, guided by our highest priority: providing safe, high-quality, people-centered care.
Working with Families
We are deeply sorry for the additional grief and frustration this has caused and are working to provide reasonable settlements with affected families. If that cannot be accomplished, we will work through the court process. While we will continue to be forthcoming on changes we make to our system to strengthen patient safety and quality of care, we will not be able to comment on the legal cases except through the legal forum.
Focusing on Culture and Strengthening Our Processes
Although our patient review is now complete, Mount Carmel will continue to work on strengthening our culture of safety. Mount Carmel will constantly reinforce the culture that colleagues have a right to speak up about safety concerns and are expected to do so.
It will take time for Mount Carmel to restore our patients’ and community’s trust. Mount Carmel has been making and will continue implementing meaningful changes throughout the system to ensure that our colleagues provide the best possible care, and that patients and their families can be confident in our services. We hope our community knows how seriously we take our role as a vital partner and the healthcare home for so many of our friends, families and neighbors.
Just as we have at all stages of our more than 130-year history of providing compassionate care for central Ohio, Mount Carmel will continue to learn and grow in the future, guided by our highest priority: providing safe, high-quality, people-centered care.
I am confident in our team of more than 11,000 colleagues who dedicate their lives daily to those we serve, and I know they look forward to working with our community to make both our system and the community as a whole even stronger moving forward.