A former pathologist at an Arkansas veterans hospital was charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of three patients whose records he allegedly falsified to conceal his misdiagnoses.
According to federal prosecutors, Dr. Robert Morris Levy, 53, is also charged with four counts of making false statements, 12 counts of wire fraud and 12 counts of mail fraud, resulting from his efforts to conceal his substance abuse while working at the Ozarks Veterans Health Care System.
Levy was suspended for working while impaired twice—in March 2016 and again in October 2017—before being fired in April 2018.
A review of his work in June 2018 examined 33,902 cases and found more than 3,000 patient errors or misdiagnoses in the 2005 veteran hospital. It was found that 30 misdiagnoses resulted in serious risks to patients’ health.
The three deaths resulted from diagnoses that were incorrect or misleading. In one case, a patient died of prostate cancer, according to prosecutors, after Levy concluded that he had no cancer with a biopsy.
“This indictment should remind us all that this country has a responsibility to care for those who have served us honorably,” Duane Kees, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas said in a statement. “When that trust is violated through criminal conduct, those responsible must be held accountable. Our veterans deserve nothing less.”
Kees said Levy had gone to great lengths to conceal his abuse of substance even during a period when he had pledged to maintain sobriety.
Levy used 2-Methyl-2-butanol, a chemical substance that poisons a person “but is not detectable in the technique of routine drug and alcohol testing,” the statement said.