By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Lawyers representing an Ohio doctor accused in multiple hospital deaths wrapped up their case Thursday one day after calling only a single witness.
Dr. William Husel is accused of ordering excessive painkillers for 14 patients in the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System. He was indicted in cases involving at least 500 micrograms of the powerful painkiller fentanyl.
Prosecutors said ordering such dosages for a nonsurgical situation indicated an intent to end lives. Husel has pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of murder. His attorneys say he was providing comfort care for dying patients, not trying to kill them.
Jurors seated for the trial heard from 53 prosecution witnesses since the trial began Feb. 22, including medical experts, Mount Carmel employees, investigators, and family members of all 14 patients. Prosecutors took five weeks to present their case.
Defense lawyers called a Georgia anesthesiologist on Wednesday to testify that Husel’s patients died from their medical conditions and not Husel’s actions. The defense rested on Thursday, with closing arguments set for Monday.
Mount Carmel has reached settlements totaling more than $16.7 million over the deaths of at least 17 patients, with more lawsuits pending.