1219 GMT November 12, 2019
The doctor, William Husel, turned himself in to Columbus police after he was charged with administering high and sometimes fatal doses of opioid painkillers to dozens of very sick patients, Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien said at a news conference, Presstv Reported.
O’Brien said Mount Carmel Hospital suspects Husel in 35 patient deaths, which spanned from February 2015 to November 2018.
Husel, 43, faces 15 years to life in prison for each count if convicted.
“By giving fentanyl at these levels, we were comfortable with the information we had that it was a sufficient amount that the only rational purpose could be to shorten a person’s life,” O’Brien said.
Fentanyl, often given for intense pain associated with cancer, is 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Husel became the latest in a wave of US doctors charged for their role in a public health crisis that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said led to a record 47,600 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017.
Fentanyl, a highly dangerous painkiller at the heart of the US opioid epidemic, has been overprescribed by doctors, according to a report in February.
The report in Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, accused US health authorities and manufacturers of being too lax in their oversight.
The charges against Husel represent one of the biggest murder cases ever brought against a health care professional in the US.
In one of the biggest such cases on record, Donald Harvey, a former nurse’s aide dubbed the Angel of Death, confessed in 1987 to killing 37 people, most of them hospital patients, over the span of two decades in Ohio and Kentucky.