Impaired Pathologist May Have Caused Three Deaths, VA Says

Megan Brooks

September 25, 2018

A pathologist allegedly working while "impaired" in the Arkansas Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks gave incorrect diagnoses to three veterans who later died, local media reported September 24.

The pathologist, identified by Arkansas' 40/29 News as Robert Morris Levy, MD, was fired by the Veterans Administration (VA) on April 13. The VA is looking into every case Levy worked, a number topping 33,000.

Levy was found to be "impaired" by VA administrators on March 22, 2016, and was immediately removed from clinical care. The nature of the impairment was not stated. The pathologist had no previous disciplinary actions.

Levy successfully completed the impaired physician program, entered a monitoring program, and was reinstated on October 12, 2016. One year later, he was suspended again over reports of possible impairment. A VA investigation found that the pathologist was "unsafe to work" and was subsequently fired.

Levy has disputed the allegations that he was impaired while on duty, according to 40/29 News.

According to OzarksFirst.com, the VA is now reviewing more than 33,800 cases Levy worked on. As of September 21, they had completed 14,980 case reviews and found over 1000 errors and misdiagnoses.

Kelvin Parks, interim director of the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks, said that 11 of the patient reviews had serious consequences, including three patients who may have died as a result of receiving an incorrect diagnosis, OzarksFirst.com reported.

The VA still has more than 18,800 cases to review. They hope to finish all of the reviews by the end of the year. All patients and/or family members whose cases were read by Levy are receiving letters to inform them of the process and results.

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