A doctor in Ohio was charged with 25 counts of murder on Wednesday after authorities accused him of purposefully prescribing patients lethal doses of the drug fentanyl, causing them to overdose. According to Time, the charges Dr. William Husel is facing constitute one of the largest murder cases brought against a health care professional in the U.S.
A grand jury indicted Husel after a six-month-long investigation conducted by the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office revealed he had “purposely caused the death” of critical patients who were prescribed the fentanyl over the course of his five-year tenure. People reports that Husel's alleged victims were between the ages of 37 and 85. The 43-year-old doctor turned himself in to authorities on Wednesday.
In December, Husel's medical license was stripped and he was fired from the Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus, Ohio after the allegations against him began to surface. “This breach of the doctor’s oath is vile,” Tom Quinlan, the Columbus Police Chief said on Wednesday.
County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien stated that Husel would prescribe between 500 and 2,000 micrograms of the drug. According to the New York Times, surgical patients would typically receive between 25 and 50 micrograms of the drug, whereas individuals who have undergone open heart surgery would receive between 250 and 500 micrograms. The defendant's lawyer claims that Husel did not intend to kill any of his patients.
The Mount Carmel Health System issued a statement on their website, in addition to admitting that they wish they had acted sooner. “The Mount Carmel has made and continues to make changes throughout our system to prevent the improper actions that may have led to the deaths of patients under Dr. William Husel’s care." Hospital officials also noted that all hospital personnel who administered the drugs to the victims have been removed from patient care.
Dr. Husel pleaded not guilty during Wednesday's arraignment hearing, and his bond was set to $1 million.