A doctor in the US state of Ohio has been charged for murder of 25 critically-ill hospital patients after administering lethal doses of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl to hasten their deaths.
A grand jury indicted William Husel on 25 counts of murder for the deaths of patients under his care while he was employed by the Mount Carmel Health System hospital network in the Midwestern state’s capital Columbus.
The indictment was the latest salvo in a case that exposed the failure of multiple healthcare safeguards, raising questions about the roles of the dozens of nurses and pharmacists who worked with Husel.
Husel’s alleged actions spanned four years and may have involved as many as 35 patients who were near death or critically ill, with most not expected to survive.
Cold-case homicide detectives at the Columbus Police Department focused their criminal investigation on 25 patients prescribed fentanyl dosages of 500 micrograms or higher, according to the prosecutor.
The allegations against Husel came to light after hospital lawyers called police to report the possible crimes.
He was suspended from patient care in November 2018 and fired soon after, the hospital said.
Each of the criminal counts with which he is charged carries a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.