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Lawsuits accuse Ohio doctor of fatally overdosing ICU patients

Lawyers representing the families of people who died after a doctor allegedly prescribed excessive amounts of painkillers plan to focus on wrongful death claims. Over two dozen lawsuits have emerged since Mount Carmel Health System informed survivors that errors or malfeasance might have caused their family members' deaths.

The accusations surround the deaths of 35 people in the hospital's intensive-care unit. Mount Carmel's internal investigation of the doctor's painkiller prescriptions suggests that he chose to administer lethal doses of painkillers. The medications appeared sufficient to kill in 29 out of 35 cases. Sometimes the deaths occurred very shortly after families decided to end life support for sick relatives.

The lawyer representing the 43-year-old doctor said that he never meant to kill anyone. No criminal charges have been filed against him, but the numerous lawsuits could ultimately result in the hospital and doctor being responsible for financial damages to survivors. Successful wrongful death claims might provide compensation for loss of companionship, loss of household income and the survivors' mental anguish.

When people place themselves under the care of a doctor or hospital, they rely on medical providers to maintain high standards of care. When a patient injury appears to be the result of doctor negligence, failure to follow life care plans or unwanted resuscitation, the person or surviving family member might want legal advice. An attorney could offer an opinion about the viability of a lawsuit to recover damages. When evidence supports allegations of negligent care, an attorney could approach the responsible party's insurer with a claim for damages. If an insurance settlement does not result, an attorney could prepare the case for a jury trial.

Source: Columbus Dispatch, "Wrongful death the key issue in lawsuits against Mount Carmel, Husel", JoAnne Viviano , March 25, 2019

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