Doctor Accused Of Giving Patients Lethal Doses Of Fentanyl Found Not Guilty

By Bill Galluccio

April 20, 2022

William Husel
Photo: Franklin County Sheriff's Department

An Ohio doctor who prescribed lethal doses of fentanyl to 14 patients was found not guilty of murder. Prosecutors argued that William Husel administered fentanyl to patients in the intensive care unit from 2015 to 2018, which resulted in their deaths.

He was initially charged with 25 counts of murder, but 11 charges were dropped before the trial began.

Husel was accused of prescribing between 500 and 2,000 micrograms of fentanyl "to hasten the death of the patients that were being treated."

"If you hasten a person's death, even if their death is as sure as the sun is going to rise in the morning, if you hasten that along, you have caused their death under the eyes of the law," Franklin County prosecutor David Zeyen told the jury during his closing arguments.

Husel's legal team argued that he was providing comfort care to patients who were dying from various conditions, including cancer, pneumonia, and organ failure.

"Why will this man risk his family, his career, 17 years of trying to be a doctor, every single thing he has worked for, to hasten someone's death or to kill them?" Husel's attorney Jose Baez said.

While the prosecution called over 50 witnesses to the stand, Husel's defense called just one, Dr. Joel Zivot. He testified that the patients were suffering from terminal illnesses and had no hope of recovering. He told the jury that the patients died due to their medical conditions and not from being given large doses of fentanyl.

While Husel has been acquitted, his medical license remains suspended.

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