COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A former Mount Carmel doctor accused of administering potentially lethal doses of painkillers and other drugs to patients was in court Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing.
William Husel is facing 25 counts of murder.
His legal team asked for those charges to be dismissed during a pre-trial hearing Tuesday, arguing the grand jury was misled by not being presented evidence that showed some of the doses prescribed were not lethal. The judge in the case said his goal was issue a ruling by Friday.
The motion referenced a patient — identified in court documents at TY — who received 3,500 total micrograms of fentanyl in one day. That patient died ten days later.
Husted’s attorneys argued that former Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien committed prosecutorial misconduct and misled the grand jury by knowing about this patient and not disclosing her information to them.
NBC4 asked one of Husel’s attorneys, Jose Baez, why he and his team focused on TY in this motion.
“Because I think it’s incredibly relevant and incredibly important considering the fact that she was number one, given more than anyone in the indictment so hey, that’s a good benchmark — someone who’s gotten more and didn’t die and was before everyone,” he said.
On Wednesday morning, a doctor and chief medical officer who oversees hospice care in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, testified for the defense that there is no defined lethal dose of fentanyl.
The prosecution argued a number of points as well, including that patient TY’s situation can be attributed to her tolerance for the drug, having taken opioid pain medication under the care of her doctor.
“In short, your honor, they have no evidence, let alone clear and convincing evidence, of what was or was not presented to the grand jury,” said Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor David Zeyen. “They have no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct and this motion should be denied.”
In 2019, Husel pleaded not guilty in one of the biggest cases of its kind ever brought against a U.S. health care professional. He was charged only in cases involving 500 to 2,000 micrograms of the painkiller fentanyl – doses so unusually large that prosecutors said it indicated an intent to kill.
Lawsuits settled by Mount Carmel Health System have reached more than $16.7 million.
Husel contends he was providing comfort care to dying patients, not trying to kill them.
A trial date has been set for Feb. 14.