The State Medical Board of Ohio has suspended the medical license of Dr. William Husel.  Husel is accused of ordering “excessive and potentially fatal” doses of pain medication for near-death patients.

Also Friday, the Ohio Department of Medicaid suspended the provider agreement with Husel after finding a “credible allegation of fraud.”

A spokesman said the allegation is that Husel ordered medically unnecessary services in the form of grossly inappropriate doses of pain medication.

In a statement issued Thursday, Mount Carmel said the number of patients affected now stands at 34 but that number may go up as the internal investigation continues.

The hospital says it has identified six patients who received excessive but not potentially fatal doses. The remaining 28 are believed to have received potentially lethal amounts of pain medication. All of the patients are dead. 

Mount Carmel fired Husel and has suspended 20 other employees.

Multiple lawsuits allege Husel ordered lethal doses of fentanyl and that nurses and pharmacists ignored hospital safeguards meant to prevent medical mistakes.

The hospital has also acknowledged waiting nearly four weeks after first learning of concerns about Husel’s orders before removing him from patient care. In that time, according to the hospital’s statement, three more patients died after receiving potentially lethal doses. “…We should have begun a more expedited process to investigate and consider immediate removal of Dr. Husel from patient care at that time….We are sorry for this tragedy, and we will continue to investigate how we responded to this report and whether there is any other information that should have led us to investigate sooner into Dr. Husel’s practices.”

The Medical Board’s suspension is the result of its own investigation of the facts so far. In order to issue a summary suspension, the board had to determine that there is “clear and convincing evidence that a physician has violated the Medical Practices Act (4731.22B) and that the doctor’s continued practice creates a danger of immediate and serious harm to the public.”

A summary suspension carries a higher burden of proof than a regular administrative action because the licensee does not get a hearing prior to the board action. 

As a result of the Medicaid suspension of Husel’s provider agreement, he is prohibited by law from serving individuals that rely on our program.”