Health system: Costs of doc’s murder defense aren’t covered

Associated Press

Columbus, Ohio – A Michigan-based health system and its insurer aren’t responsible for the costs of an Ohio doctor’s defense against murder charges in the deaths of 25 hospital patients, the businesses’ lawyers argued in court filings this week.

Officials in the Columbus, Ohio-area Mount Carmel Health System fired William Husel after concluding he ordered excessive painkillers for dozens of patients who then died. He pleaded not guilty in the resulting criminal case and maintains he was providing end-of-life care to dying patients, not trying to kill them.

Husel sued Mount Carmel’s parent company, Livonia-based Trinity Health Corporation, and Trinity’s insurer over his legal costs. He contends his ability to defend himself is hurt if they won’t cover defense costs in the criminal case, as was done for dozens of related civil cases filed by patients’ families.

Trinity and the insurer argue that the liability policy at issue doesn’t cover criminal charges and that Husel’s federal lawsuit should be dismissed.

A hearing in that matter is set for May, less than two weeks before Husel’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin.