Generally speaking, doctors, whether at the VA or elsewhere, do a good job helping their patients. Occasionally, they get it wrong. Occasionally, they get it wrong in a way that is negligent. Rarely, do they get it wrong in a manner that is criminal.
In this case, a VA pathologist misdiagnosed thousands of patients because he was intoxicated. As a pathologist, Dr. Robert Morris Levy was responsible for performing lab tests and assisting other doctors in determining appropriate diagnoses. In at least one case, Dr. Levy diagnosed a tissue sample as benign, when the reality was that the sample was of a deadly cancer. By the time anyone found out, it was too late to save the patient.
Dr. Levy had been seen apparently intoxicated at work by fellow staff more than once, but when the first VA investigation began, there was no hard evidence that he was intoxicated other than his co-workers suspicions. Eventually, the investigators discovered that he was intoxicated at work. They also discovered that he had ordered a specific drug which mimics the intoxication of alcohol, but cannot be discovered in the same way.
In the course of VA’s investigation, they also discovered that he had made several thousand mistakes. That means thousands of patients likely were misdiagnosed as a result. Some of these patients died. The trial for Dr. Levy began some time ago, but he was recently sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
It is important to know that, though Dr. Levy's behavior was criminal and his trial led to a conviction, veterans and the families who were affected were not prevented because of that from bringing claims against VA for medical negligence.
There are time limits to bringing a claim like these against VA, but if you believe you or a loved one have been affected by this or a similar case, it is important that you contact an attorney with experience in bringing medical negligence claims against VA. Rawls Law Group has decades of cumulative experience in these matters. Contact us to see if you have a claim.