Robert Morris Levy, former chief pathologist at Veterans Affairs, has been charged with the deaths of three veterans. He allegedly covered up years of substance abuse on the job, which led to the misreading of thousands of fluid and tissue samples of sick veterans, prosecutors said. An indictment says that “diagnoses rendered by Levy and the information he entered in patients’ medical records largely influenced decisions about the course of medical treatment.” A mistaken diagnosis could hurt or even kill a patient, and according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Levy is responsible for causing at least 15 deaths during the 12 years he worked at the VA. An 18-month review found that nearly 10 percent of Levy’s work had clinical errors, as compared to the average pathologist misdiagnosis rate of .07 percent.
Levy was charged with 28 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and false statements to law-enforcement officials and three counts of involuntary manslaughter. Last year, the VA fired Levy for driving drunk, but that move allegedly came after years of complaints from his colleagues about his erratic behavior at work. Many of the patients who came to Veterans Affairs for medical treatment lacked health insurance and had no other way of accessing proper care.