Number Of Errors, Deaths Continue To Climb In VA Review Of Former Pathologist’s Cases

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — A review of cases of a former pathologist who was found to be impaired have showed 2,438 errors so far, resulting in 18 institutional disclosures and four veterans who have died.

The information was disclosed Tuesday (Dec. 18) at a town hall meeting at the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville. The numbers were up from those disclosed in September as the review of thousands of cases continues.

“Institutional disclosures” refers to adverse events that occurred during care that resulted in death or serious injury.

VA officials believe the veterans' deaths could possibly be a result of the diagnosis by Dr. Robert Morris Levy, a former VA pathologist found to be impaired in March 2016. He was immediately removed from clinical care.

Veteran David Cook received a letter from the VA stating that he may have been misdiagnosed.

"It makes me pretty concerned about how many more people have been misdiagnosed because of this gentleman not doing his job, or being drunk on his job, or whatever or impaired," Cook said.

Levy was fired in April following a DUI arrest in Oct. 2017 which was ultimately dismissed. Levy denied being impaired while on duty.

"Overall the VA is one of the best, we just happened to get a bad egg that has caused deaths in my opinion," said VA Interim Director Kelvin Parks. "He is to blame if it comes back that he misdiagnosed their situation."

Following his firing, officials with the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced an investigation in more than 33,000 of Levy’s cases, which affect about 20,000 veterans. Most of the reviews have been completed, but over 4,000 cases remain.

"This has never been done...there was no model that we could use," said Parks.

Those reviews were expected to take until the end of the year, but officials said Tuesday they likely would not be finished by then.

They hope to be finished by the date of the next town hall, which is scheduled for Jan. 28, 2019.

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