June 5 (UPI) -- Ohio prosecutors charged a physician Wednesday with more than two dozen counts of murder, for prescribing fatal doses of opioids to near-death patients.
Authorities said Dr. William Husel was arrested and charged with 25 counts of ordering excessive and potentially fatal doses for 25 patients who died. Husel was an intensive care doctor at Mount Carmel Health System from 2015 until he was suspended and fired last fall. His medical license was suspended in January for "violations of the minimal care and for failing to cooperate" in the board's investigation.
The hospital conducted an internal investigation on Husel and several nurses. At least 30 nurses have been put on leave.
Prosecutors said the deadly doses ranged from 500 micrograms to 2,000 micrograms, and nurses or pharmacists would often override the hospital's medication-dispensing cabinets. A typical dose is 25 to 100 micrograms.
Husel faces 15 years to life for each count.
"This breach of the doctor's oath is vile," Columbus Police Chief Tom Quinlan said.
Police and prosecutors are investigating 29 cases in which patients were given the powerful opioid fentanyl as they were near death. He also faces at least 19 wrongful death lawsuits, which name the Mount Carmel Health System and some of its pharmacists and nurses. The majority of the patients died at Mount Carmel West in Columbus.
Mount Carmel CEO Ed Lamb apologized for the tragedy in a video statement.
"We take responsibility for the fact that the processes in place were not sufficient to prevent these actions from happening," Lamb said.