Walters had resided at a nursing home for several years after a stroke. He was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 6, 2017 suffering from respiratory failure and brain swelling, and was placed on a breathing machine. Late on Oct. 10, his family was persuaded to change his status to do-not-resuscitate. He died the next day.
The family members of Janet Kavanaugh, 79, have filed a lawsuit against the doctor and the hospital. They said she received a lethal dose of fentanyl and pronounced dead 18 minutes later.
Lawyer Gerry Leeseberg, who filed the suit on behalf of Kavanaugh's estate, said she had not consented to the high dose. He was not aware whether she had previously been given the drug for pain relief, NBC News reports.
"We're concerned some of these families were misled into granting a do-not-resuscitate order," Leeseberg said.
CNA sought comment from the Diocese of Columbus but did not receive a response by deadline.
The hospital released a statement and an apology on Jan. 14, the same day a patient filed a lawsuit. It removed 20 employees from patient care pending the results of its investigation, including nurses who administered the drugs and pharmacists.
Lamb, the health system head, said Jan. 24 that based on the initial report, the hospital system "should have begun a more expedited process to investigate and consider immediate removal of Dr. Husel from patient care at that time."
More patients might be discovered as the investigation continues, he said.
According to Lamb, clinicians must provide "complete and clinically accurate" information about a patient's condition, potential treatments, likelihood to recover and options for care. The investigation will determine whether this was the practice for the treatment of each of the patients.
"These events are heartbreaking," said Lamb. "We are committed to being open and honest about what happened and what we are doing to ensure it never happens again."
He pledged to respect the privacy and rights of those involved in accordance with privacy laws and to continue to cooperate with law enforcement and other relevant authorities.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
For many of the patients, the doctor was able to use emergency overrides to bypass safeguards in the medication system. He was also able to avoid required pharmacist pre-approval.
A review from the Ohio Department of Health faulted the two hospitals for failing to ensure a system to prevent overrides that access large doses of "central nervous system" medications, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
The reports have already caused federal authorities to tell two hospitals in the health system they were non-compliant with Medicare standards for pharmaceuticals. They warned that the hospitals' Medicare provider agreement would terminate on Feb. 24. Hospital leaders later agreed to a corrective plan and state oversight to ensure compliance.