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VA Doctor Allegedly Made 3K Mistakes. 3 Patients Died

Arkansas' Robert Morris Levy faces up to 524 years if convicted
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2019 12:21 PM CDT
Duane "Dak" Kees, US Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, discusses charges against Robert Morris Levy in Fayetteville, Ark., on Tuesday.   (David Gottschalk/The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)
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(Newser) – A former Veterans Affairs doctor is accused of making more than 3,000 errors, including "incorrect and misleading diagnoses" resulting in three patients' deaths. He faces up to 524 years in prison if convicted. Federal investigators say one veteran died of prostate cancer though Dr. Robert Morris Levy, the chief of pathology at a VA hospital in Fayetteville, Ark., had concluded the man was cancer-free, per the New York Post. In two of the deaths, investigators say Levy falsely claimed another pathologist had confirmed his own findings, per USA Today. Levy—who pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of involuntary manslaughter, fraud, and making false statements—first came under fire in 2015, when he was accused of being drunk at work.

He registered a blood-alcohol level of .396, almost five times the state's legal limit, on the job in 2016 before attending rehab and agreeing to "abstain completely from the use of ... alcohol and other mood-altering substances," prosecutors say. They say he also agreed to submit to random urine or blood tests. The pathologist—who earned $225,000 a year at Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks, where he started in 2005—passed all tests but was later found to be using 2-methyl-2-butanol, or tert-Amyl alcohol, which grants "a state of intoxication but is not detectable in routine drug and alcohol testing methodology," prosecutors say. He was fired in 2018. In addition to a very lengthy prison sentence, he faces $7.75 million in fines if convicted. (Read more manslaughter stories.)

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