Dr William Husel, a former Ohio doctor who was accused of killing at least 14 of his patients with overdoses of fentanyl, has been found not guilty on all charges.
In the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, judge Michael Holbrook read the verdict, while Husel, 46, stood as he learned his fate. His attorney, Jose Baez, attended the verdict via videoconference.
Husel had maintained he gave patients drugs to alleviate their pain.
Husel was charged with 14 counts of murder after prosecutors said that he ordered potentially lethal amounts of fentanyl and other drugs to ICU patients at Mount Carmel West hospital from 2015 to 2018. While more than 14 patients died under his care, prosecutors only filed 14 murder counts.
The trial began on February 22. The prosecution called 53 witnesses and presented dozens of exhibits. The defence presented only one witness, who discussed comfort care for terminal patients.
Husel faced life in prison. His licence was suspended by the State Medical Board of Ohio in January.
According to documents obtained by NBC, the board’s decision was based on Husel’s alleged “failure to meet acceptable standards regarding the selection of drugs, violations of the minimal standards of care and failing to cooperate in a board’s investigation.”
Almost two dozen lawsuits have been filed against the doctor. In one of the cases, an 82-year-old woman allegedly died five minutes after she was given 2,000 micrograms of fentanyl. She had gone to Mount Carmel West complaining of stomach pains.
The lawsuit alleged that Husel suggested that the family should end the woman’s care because she was brain dead.
Baez could not be immediately reached for comment.