Jury deadlocked in trial of doctor charged in deaths of 14 patients

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A judge told jurors deliberating in the trial of an Ohio doctor charged in the deaths of 14 hospital patients to keep working Monday after they said they were deadlocked.

Franklin Judge Michael Holbrook told the panel to make one more attempt to come up with a verdict in the case of Dr. William Husel, who’s accused of ordering excessive painkillers that led to the deaths of patients in the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System.

Prosecutors contend that the amount of painkillers Husel ordered for nonsurgical situations indicated an intent to end lives and that regardless of how close a patient is to death, it was illegal to speed up the process.

Hospital Deaths Doctor
William Husel stands during a short break in his trial on Tuesday., Feb. 22, 2022 at the Franklin County Common Pleas Courthouse in Columbus, Ohio. Fred Squillante / AP

Husel’s attorneys argued that he was providing comfort care for dying patients, not trying to kill them. During closing arguments, one of his defense lawyers stated that there was no evidence from the state to support the murder accusations.

Before deliberations began last week, the judge told jurors they could also consider lesser charges of attempted murder, and denied a last-minute motion to declare a mistrial.

Jurors seated for the trial heard from 53 prosecution witnesses, including medical experts, Mount Carmel employees, investigators, and family members of all 14 patients.

Husel’s defense team called a single witness on March 30: a Georgia anesthesiologist who testified that Husel’s patients died from their medical conditions and not Husel’s actions.

Helen Young’s husband of 46 years died in Husel’s care.

“He said, ‘Mr. Young’s kidneys have been destroyed. His lungs have been destroyed. He’s brain dead.’ He’s brain dead. I said, ‘How in the world did that happen,'” Young told CBS News in 2019.

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