Two Anesthesiologists Bemoan How One of Their Own, Charged in Over Two Dozen Deaths, Slipped Through

“His very existence in our profession is an embarrassment.”

They’re horrified. Alyssa Burgart, MD, and James Lozada, MD, just don’t understand how William Husel, MD, came to be in a position where his alleged overprescribing of fentanyl led to the deaths of 25 patients. Husel’s sketchy history includes a federal misdemeanor conviction for building and detonating a pipe bomb. As a college freshman he ran a car stereo theft ring. It was all right there in Husel’s record, but downplayed as Husel rose through his profession.

In an op/ed piece in USA Today, Burgart and Lozada write: “The medical board and institutions appear to have taken Husel’s application at face value while writing off his transgressions as the folly of youth…. Husel waved his warning flag high, but the system was easily distracted by a transformation story it wanted to believe.”

The authors argue for zero tolerance when it comes to admitting those with a criminal background into medical schools.

“We must accept that applicants with serious criminal behavior in their pasts do not belong in medicine,” they write. “Yes, some promising students with troubled pasts who have genuinely changed will be excluded, but that’s a price we’re willing to pay for the health and safety of the public. If a medical school, training program or medical board really wants to take chances on a candidate who has committed serious ethical violations, dig deep into their motivations, background and personal life. Convince the community beyond a doubt that this person is worth the risk.