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Thu Jun 11, 2020, 08:37 PM

Former VA pathologist who agency says misdiagnosed 3,000 cases pleads guilty to manslaughter

Source: Washington Post

Former VA pathologist who agency says misdiagnosed 3,000 cases pleads guilty to manslaughter

By Lisa Rein and Matt Zapotosky
6/11/2020, 4:47:13 p.m.

A former Veterans Affairs pathologist who the agency says botched 3,000 cases, including at least 15 in which patients died, admitted in court Thursday that he schemed to cover up a substance abuse problem and twice misdiagnosed a cancer patient who got the wrong treatment and died.

Robert Morris Levy, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and another of involuntary manslaughter, which together carry a maximum prison term of 28 years, though federal sentencing guidelines might call for something less. He had been charged last year with 31 counts in total, and had been scheduled for a Sept. 8 jury trial in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville, Ark.

Because of public health restrictions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the plea hearing took place on Zoom, with Levy appearing in a county jail cell. He wore a gray, striped prison jump suit and a black mask that covered his nose and mouth, answering most of Judge Timothy Brooks’s questions with a simple, “Yes, your honor.”

Levy confirmed that, while he was facing regular drug and alcohol monitoring for being caught drunk on the job, he used a substance that mimicked alcohol’s effects but was untraceable with normal tests.

He also admitted to twice misdiagnosing an Air Force veteran in 2014 with types of cancer the man did not have, and falsifying records to claim that his deputy had concurred with his diagnosis. That prompted doctors to give the veteran, who was not named during the hearing, the wrong treatment before he died five months later.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/former-va-pathologist-who-misdiagnosed-3000-cases-pleads-guilty-to-manslaughter/2020/06/11/0e687102-ab7e-11ea-94d2-d7bc43b26bf9_story.html

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