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Ohio Attorney General Will Litigate Hearing For Mount Carmel Nurses

The main entrance to Mount Carmel West Hospital is shown Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins
Associated Press

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost will litigate hearings for 25 nurses cited by the Ohio Board of Nursing for their involvement in what Mount Carmel Health System calls "excessive" dosing of dozens of patients.

The Board of Nursing alleges the nurses violated the Nurse Practice Act by failing to question the orders of ICU doctor and anesthesiologist William Husel, who Mount Carmel fired in December. Husel is accused of giving "excessive" and "potentially fatal" doses of the painkiller fentanyl to dozens of patients, all of whom subsequently died.

The Board of Nursing hearings are not criminal proceedings, but nurses involved are at risk of losing their licenses. Ohio law states that nurses have a legal responsibility to the patient, and can use their professional judgement to question the prescriber. 

“Nurses are professionals who have a duty to exercise their best judgment, and tens of thousands of them do, every single day,” Yost said in a statement Thursday. “These nurses didn’t. They should have questioned the orders to administer such a high dose of pain killers.”

In a statement, a Mount Carmel spokeswoman said that they respect the Board of Nurses' actions.

“Mount Carmel recognized the complexities of each patient's circumstances and individual nurse actions," the statement says. "That's why out of an abundance of caution, we placed all nurses who were associated with medication administration for an impacted patient on paid administrative leave until ongoing investigations provide a complete understanding of individual nurse’s actions.”

The list of nurses includes many of the nurses named in wrongful death lawsuits that have been against Husel and the hospital. The board released the following names: 

  • Mariah Baird
  • Wesley Black
  • Jordan Blair
  • Jamie Bourke
  • Jacob Deemer
  • Derek Dreyer
  • Luke Evans
  • Joseph Forshey
  • Earl Huron
  • Yussuf Ibrow
  • McKenzie Johnson
  • Stephanie Karavian
  • Kathleen McDowell
  • Amelia Powers
  • Chad Readout
  • Troy Rudman
  • Tyler Rudman
  • Trisa Sauber
  • Jason Schulze
  • Jason Sims
  • Tyler Springer
  • Sharon Surber
  • Michaela Thompson
  • Raina Vretenar
  • Edward Wright

Timeline: The Mount Carmel Scandal So Far

Husel worked at the hospital from 2013-2018. Since his firing was made public in January 2019, at least 24 families filed wrongful death lawsuits against the doctor and hospital.

The Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office is currently investigating 29 deaths connected to Husel. Husel's medical license was suspended by the Ohio Medical Board earlier this year. He's scheduled to attend a hearing in July to appeal the possible permanent revocation of his license.

On Wednesday, Mount Carmel said it reported 48 hospital employees to the state nursing and pharmacy boards. The hospital placed 30 employees on administrative leave since its investigation began, including all members of clinical leadership. Another 18 are no longer working at the hospital, although several left years ago.

An investigation by the Ohio Department of Health found Mount Carmel had insufficient policies and failed safeguards surrounding painkiller dosing and medication dispensing. Mount Carmel West and St. Ann's are currently non-compliant with conditions of Medicare participation, according to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

If you have information to share about the Mount Carmel investigation, please contact WOSU at paige.pfleger@wosu.org.