Review finds more cases handled by impaired pathologist at VA clinic in Fayetteville, Ark.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — A pathologist accused of working while impaired at a Fayettevile, Ark. Veterans Affairs hospital handled 96 cases as a private consultant before he was hired, according to an independent review.

Dr. Robert Morris Levy has acknowledged that he once showed up to work at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks drunk in 2016, but he denies working while impaired.

Kelvin Parks, the system's director told veterans at a town hall meeting on Monday that outside pathologists reviewed nearly 34,000 cases handled by Levy and found more than 3,000 errors or missed diagnoses, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The cases date back to 2005.

Parks said that's a nearly 9 percent error rate, compared to the normal nationwide rate of 0.7 percent.

Officials believe that few of the errors have caused lasting harm, Parks said. A dozen of the veterans whose cases he handled later died, but it's unclear if those deaths were the direct result of a missed diagnosis, he said.

Levy said he was fired as Chief of Pathology in April because of a DUI that was ultimately dismissed. Levy was arrested during work hours on March 1 for driving under the influence.

According to a police report, Levy failed a field sobriety test. But Jacob DeYoung, a deputy city prosecutor for Fayetteville, said the case was dismissed after Levy's blood sample was clean.

The hospital has said Levy was terminated because he was found to be impaired on duty twice, once in March 2016 and again in October 2017.
Reviews are also being conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of the Inspector General.
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Information from: Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.nwaonline.com