COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Attorneys on Wednesday said 82-year-old Melissa Penix, a great-grandmother and devoted Christian, was prescribed a lethal dose of fentanyl in November 2018 at Mount Carmel West, allegedly by Dr. William Husel.
They said they plan to file a wrongful death suit soon.
Lawyers claim she was given 2,000 micrograms of fentanyl, the highest dosage ABC6/FOX28 has learned of so far.
ABC6/FOX28 has learned the identities of at least 18 patients. The hospital said 34 people were potentially given high doses of fentanyl.
On Wednesday, ABC6/FOX28 talked to Dr. Allen Nichol after this news broke, who said he has a bachelors and doctorate in pharmacy and has worked in the field for twenty years.
He said he has also testified as an expert medical witness in several dozen cases.
"My physician friends have all pigeonholed me and said, 'How could this have happened?" and I said, 'It shouldn't have'," said Dr. Nichol, Pharm.D.
ABC6/FOX28 asked him about guidelines for the use of narcotic pain medications, like fentanyl, in Ohio.
"The FDA puts out guidelines for therapeutic levels," he said, "so if you look under the new drug application from the FDA, it will have those guidelines in them."
He said he was horrified to learn about patients allegedly given high doses of fentanyl at Mount Carmel.
"All systems are required to have drug utilization review programs in them," he said, "it's a requirement of state law. So that alerts them to potential problems in the dosing, drug interactions...but they have a warning system now that should have set off a red flag."
While he doesn't know exactly what happened inside the hospital, Dr. Nichol said chains of command are typically in place.
"It is beyond comprehension," he said, "the critical thing is if you see a mistake like that and the doctor doesn't agree with you, then you need to immediately go to a supervisor."
ABC6/FOX28 did try to talk to the nurse and pharmacist named in the suit but were told no comment by a man at one home.
No criminal charges have been filed in this case.
Our team went to an address for Husel's wife in Orient and his Dublin address Wednesday, but no one answered the door.
His legal team has declined to comment multiple times so far.
Mount Carmel hasn't given much insight into their specific systems, but said in a statement that they have apologized and are working to build safeguards to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.