An Ohio doctor is under investigation for allegedly giving 'excessive and potentially fatal' doses of fentanyl to at least 27 intensive care patients.
The osteopathic physician ordered "more than what was needed to provide comfort" to patients whose families had requested that all life-saving measures be stopped, Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus said in a statement.
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the doctor, and other medical staff claiming that they intentionally gave a lethal dose of the drug Fentanyl to a 79-year-old woman which led to her death.
The doctor was removed and fired, after working in the hospital for five years.
The attorney who brought the lawsuit said, in that case, either layer of safeguards repeatedly failed to flag a 'grossly excessive' dosage of fentanyl, or the medical professionals intended to accelerate the death of Kavanaugh in late 2017.
'On balance, it's hard to believe the former occurred rather than the latter. ... This is not just a simple situation of an error,' lawyer Gerry Leeseberg said Tuesday.
It is unclear if any other patients may have died as a direct result of the doctor's actions.
"We're still gathering facts, and we're cooperating and sharing information with authorities, including the prosecutor," the hospital said in response to a question about additional deaths. "While that's happening, we won't be able to release all of the details of this tragedy."
The hospital said it has removed 20 members of its staff from patient care while the investigation continues, including nurses who administered the medication and pharmacists who were involved in patient care.