COLUMBUS, Ohio — The former Mount Carmel Health System doctor charged with murdering 14 of his patients by prescribing excessive doses of painkillers had his first day of trial Tuesday. William Husel, 46, was arrested in 2019 following more than 25 deaths allegedly under his care.
The impact of these deaths were mothers who never returned to see their kids, sons not being able to say a final goodbye to dad and husbands who were left to pick up the pieces of what was once a three-decade marriage.
Bonnie Austin was 64 when she was rushed to the ICU after having trouble breathing. Her husband David said he watched her die within hours of getting to a Mount Carmel hospital in Columbus, according to ABC affiliate WSYX. He didn't learn until months later that Husel ordered an overdose amount of fentanyl and a sedative for his wife.
That was in 2018. Now, that same doctor is facing 14 counts of murder – all by prescription.
"In each instance, the defendant ordered the lethal doses of medication," Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Janet Grubb told the jury. "William Husel’s actions caused the deaths of these patients."
In her opening statement Tuesday morning, Grubb told the jury Husel prescribed “unwarranted and unprecedented” dosages of drugs, in some cases overdose levels.
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Husel’s defense attorney Jose Baez said the doctor was just doing what the patients and their families wanted.
"William Husel was exercising compassion to his patients and trying to free them from pain and let their last moments on Earth be ones of peace," Baez said.
Mount Carmel fired Husel at the end of 2018. Originally, Husel was charged with 25 counts of murder of his patients, but the judge dismissed 11 of those claims. He has pleaded not guilty.
The trial is expected to continue a few months, as the prosecution said they have many witnesses.
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