Prison Sentence for VA Doctor Who Misdiagnosed Patient
A Veterans Administration (VA) pathologist who admitted a substance abuse problem has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after misdiagnosing a patient who later died as a result of his actions, according to an Associated Press report.
At trial, the VA revealed that more than 3,000 other patients at the facility may have been harmed by the doctor’s medical errors and misdiagnoses, dating back as far as 2005. In addition, the plea agreement showed that the doctor falsified the patient’s medical record saying a second pathologist concurred with his diagnosis, which did not happen.
At sentencing, the Fayetteville, Arkansas, doctor admitted his mistake, apologized and pledged to seek alcohol rehabilitation. This was his second brush with alcohol abuse at work.
If you have been a patient at the Fayetteville VA hospital at some point since 2005, you may have been one of the 3,000-plus victims of Dr. Robert Morris Levy’s medical mistakes. Since pathologists rarely meet with patients face-to-face and their names aren’t typically listed on medical bills, you may not be able to track down Levy’s name.
This is a situation requiring the legal knowledge and experience of Bertram Law Group. Our medical malpractice attorneys have experience with cases like this, winning monetary damages exceeding $35 million for our clients. From our offices in Washington, DC, we handle claims all over the country on behalf of veterans and civilians alike.
About Medical Misdiagnosis
No one wants to believe their physician made a mistake in diagnosing their illness. But some situations go beyond a minor mistake. In situations like this, the VA health system placed confidence in Levy, a pathologist who four years earlier came to work drunk. After completing a months-long alcohol rehabilitation program, the VA system allowed him to return to work with the promise to remain sober.
Pathologists like Levy perform most of their function in a laboratory behind the scenes. They supervise the work of medical technologists and other professionals. In a given day, a pathologist’s decisions may mean life or death for thousands of patients.
Although pathologists rarely interact with patients, they are like other medical doctors in that they are bound to a professional duty to meet the standard of care. Their work has a direct bearing on what diagnostics and treatments doctors order for their patients.
In this case, Levy diagnosed a patient with lymphoma when the patient actually had a small-cell carcinoma. Due to this misdiagnosis, the patient died.
The court has spoken in sentencing Levy to a 20-year prison term. This could give patients in similar situations the potential for a strong civil case.
About Civil Lawsuits Against VA Doctors
The VA health system is part of the federal government and acts as its agency in caring for the nation’s veterans. As such, it is covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The act specifies that a claim must be received within two years of the occurrence.
If the injury occurred more than two years ago, there still may be grounds to file a lawsuit and achieve a successful outcome. It will require a legal team experienced with the FTCA and federal civil procedure.
Contact a Misdiagnosis Attorney at Bertram Law Group
The VA health system was created to serve America’s veterans. When a rogue doctor’s actions place lives in jeopardy, it’s especially concerning.
If you have experienced adverse effects from treatment at a VA hospital, contact a misdiagnosis attorney with Bertram Law Group. We are passionate about seeking justice on behalf of injured people.
Contact us now for your free and confidential consultation. You’ll owe us nothing unless we recover damages for you.