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Ohio doctor charged with murder in fentanyl case

Paige Pfleger/Side Effects Public Media
Dr. William Husel at arraignment

An Ohio doctor being investigated for the suspicious deaths of dozens of hospital patients has been charged with 25 counts of murder.

A prosecutor said Wednesday that medical experts found Dr. William Husel prematurely ended the lives of his patients with high doses of fentanyl. He faces 15 years to life for each charge if convicted. Here's more on the charges.

Side Effects reported earlier that nearly three fourths of overdose deaths in the state are due to illicit fentanyl. But at Mount Carmel, one of Central Ohio’s largest health systems, pharmaceutical fentanyl was probed as a cause of deaths beginning in 2014.

Husel pleaded not guilty to all charges. His lawyer, Richard Blake said, “At no time did Dr. Husel ever intend to euthanize anyone – euthanize meaning speed up death."

The story was produced by Side Effects Public Media, a news collaborative covering public health.

Paige Pfleger is a reporter for WOSU, Central Ohio's NPR station. Before joining the staff of WOSU, Paige worked in the newsrooms of NPR, Vox, Michigan Radio, WHYY and The Tennessean. She spent three years in Philadelphia covering health, science, and gender, and her work has appeared nationally in The Washington Post, Marketplace, Atlas Obscura and more.