Detroit – An Ohio doctor has been acquitted in the deaths of 14 patients who died after taking painkillers, against the National Catholic Health System, which sued the hospital where he worked in the intensive care unit.
William Hussell alleges malicious prosecution and names Trinity Health Corp. in a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in Detroit. He is seeking a jury trial and at least $20 million in damages.
Hussel was accused of ordering pain medication for patients in the Columbus area at Mount Carmel Health System. He was charged in cases involving the use of at least 500 micrograms of the powerful drug fentanyl.
Prosecutors in the case said that ordering such a dose for a non-surgical situation would indicate an intent to end life. Hussel’s lawyers argued that he was providing comfort care to dying patients, not trying to kill them.
In April 2022, a jury found Hussell guilty of 14 counts of murder.
Hussel was fired from Mount Carmel West Hospital, a member of Trinity Health, in late 2018. He was later charged with 25 counts of murder. Eleven of those counts were dismissed by the district attorney’s office in January 2022.
Hussel “voluntarily surrendered his license to practice medicine,” according to the federal lawsuit.
“Dr. Hussel learned that despite the acquittal, the damage to his reputation was such that he would never be able to practice as a physician again,” the complaint states.
A separate defamation case against Trinity is pending in Ohio’s Franklin County, according to Hussell’s attorney, Robert Landy of the New York-based law firm Ford O’Brien Landy.
This claim is made while Husel was under indictment. Landy said the damages sought by Hussell in the malicious prosecution suit will be taken if he fails to recover the amount in the defamation suit.
“A malicious prosecution case is when a person makes a complaint to the authorities with the intention of arresting and charging you against a good faith belief that you have done something wrong,” Landy said. “It only works if the accused is acquitted.”
Trinity Health said through a spokeswoman Thursday that the allegations in the lawsuit are “without merit.”
“We will resolve this matter through the legal process,” Trinity Health said in an email. “As this is an active case, we have no further comment.”