The attorneys at Leeseberg & Valentine filed two more lawsuits against Mount Carmel, Dr. William Husel, a pharmacist, and two nurses earlier today. The cases were filed on behalf of the families of James Allen and Joanne Bellisari, both of whom were given 1,000 micrograms of Fentanyl.
James was 80 years old and died 20 minutes shy of his 81st birthday, due to an IV push of Fentanyl, 1,000 mcg, ordered by Dr. Husel and administered by Nurse Jacob Deemer. There was no apparent pharmacist verification, so pharmacist involvement remains an open question.
James went into the hospital on 5/24/18 not feeling well, appearing “yellowish”. He was diagnosed with an infection and gall stones which were blocking the bile duct. Doctors indicated they needed to stent the gall bladder, but needed to treat the bad infection immediately. He was sent to the ICU where he got broad spectrum antibiotics, and was stabilized. He was returned to the floor where he experienced atrial fibrillation overnight on the 27th, and hypotension early on the 28th. He was transferred back to the ICU due to the hypotension and bloody secretions from mouth. He was intubated and put on vasopressors.
Late on the 28th, around 8 or 9 PM, the family understood James to be stable in the ICU. They were asked to leave for shift change. When they returned later that night, Dr. Husel was now the attending and he told them James was in complete organ failure. The family agreed to take him off the ventilator.
James was administered 1,000 mcg of Fentanyl by IV Push at 11:20, the same time it appears to have been ordered by Dr. Husel. He died within 20 minutes, pronounced at 11:40 PM, just 20 minutes shy of his 81st Birthday.
James did have advance directives, indicating that he wished to be resuscitated if he could improve, but did not wish to be kept alive artificially by machines.
Here is a brief statement from the Allen family:
“Dealing with Jim’s death when it happened was a difficult process for our family. Having to live through that death again, in this context, is all the more painful. Our family seeks answers to the difficult questions everyone is asking, and we hope to find out what really happened through this process. We ask that everyone please respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
Joanne was 69 years old when she was admitted to Mount Carmel West on April 22, 2015. She passed away on May 10, 2015, after receiving a 1,000 mcg dosage of Fentanyl pushed through her IV line. The Fentanyl was ordered by Dr. Husel, approved by pharmacist Nathan Kochheiser, and administered by nurse Trisa Sauber.
Joanne presented to Mount Carmel due to complications from numerous chronic medical conditions. Her health declined over the 2 weeks she was in the hospital, where she developed pneumonia and sepsis. In the ICU, Joanne’s condition worsened the family ultimately decided to withdraw care. It was at this point Joanne received the 1,000 mcg lethal dose of Fentanyl ordered by Dr. Husel. The Fentanyl was given at 11:32 PM, and she was pronounced dead just 8 minutes later, at 11:40 PM on May 10, 2015.
The family is shocked and angered by the fact that Joanne’s wishes and religious beliefs were ignored, and she was not permitted to end her life naturally. They looked to Mount Carmel as a facility that would respect those personal and religious values, and are upset to learn the truth about the end of Joanne’s life.
Joanne was one of 9 children, and was a 1963 graduate of Grandview High School.
Here is a brief statement from the Bellisari family:
“Our family was completely shocked to receive a call from Mount Carmel indicating that Joanne received an excessive dose of medication shortly before her death. We are left confused and with many unanswered questions. We look forward to letting this process play out, and hope to receive answers to those questions. Our family chose Mount Carmel and relied upon it as a Catholic hospital, due to our desire that Joanne’s life be permitted to end naturally. It is also our hope that Mount Carmel makes significant changes in their processes, so that this never happens to another patient. We ask that our privacy be respected in this difficult time.”
To date, Leeseberg & Valentine has filed 4 lawsuits and plans to file several more over the next couple weeks as medical records become available and they can be reviewed by a medical expert. If you believe one of your loved ones was a victim of the Mount Carmel tragedy, please contact us today to see if we can be of assistance.