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Second Mount Carmel doctor reportedly called patient's family to notify them of overdose

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As additional families file wrongful death lawsuits against Mount Carmel, Dr. William Husel, and other staff, a source tells ABC 6 another doctor at the hospital called at least one family affected by Husel's alleged actions to notify them and apologize. (WSYX/WTTE)

As additional families file wrongful death lawsuits against Mount Carmel, Dr. William Husel, and other staff, a source tells ABC 6 another doctor at the hospital called at least one family affected by Husel's alleged actions to notify them and apologize.

ABC 6 learned Mt. Carmel doctor David Ralston called the family of Bonnie Austin to break the news that her death may have been due to a drug overdose, rather than natural causes. Ralston, who is not named in any lawsuits, is board certified in many areas including critical care medicine, according to the Mount Carmel website.

Austin, 64, died September 30, 2018. Her family's lawsuit claims a dosage of 600 micrograms of fentanyl ordered by Husel caused her death.

The news comes as another Mt. Carmel staff member's name was added to the most recent lawsuit. The wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Melissa Ann Penix's family names Mt. Carmel Chief Pharmacy Officer Janet Whittey, a five-year employee. Lawyers for the Penix family say Whittey was "terminated" from the position.

The family's lawsuit claims Whittey was aware of inappropriate and unsafe prescribing, approving, and administering of fentanyl, and failed to take action.

They've also named Mount Carmel's parent corporation Trinity Health in the lawsuit.

Lawyers say it was Penix's death in November 2018 that triggered Husel's firing and the Mount Carmel investigation. The 82-year-old died on November 20, 2018, after receiving a 2,000 microgram dose of Fentanyl, according to attorneys. They say Husel was escorted out of the hospital sometime after her death.

Twenty three Mt. Carmel employees are on administrative leave. Mt. Carmel refused to comment when asked for an update, saying it was out of respect for employees' privacy.

Mt. Carmel has set up a phone number if people have questions and would like more information on obtaining medical records. You can call them at 614-265-7535.

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