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‘Devastating, tragic, and deadly’: VA leaders in Arkansas allowed impaired pathologist to harm hundreds of veterans, watchdog finds

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Oversight failures, a fearful workplace culture and lax quality standards for years at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Arkansas, USA, allowed a pathologist who was routinely drunk on the job to misdiagnose thousands of veterans — sometimes with dire or deadly consequences, a new investigation has found.

Hospital leaders “failed to promote a culture of accountability” that would have led more of the doctor’s colleagues to come forward with accounts that his behavior was putting patients at risk, according to the report released Wednesday by VA’s Office of Inspector General. But the staff members at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville feared that reporting their concerns would lead to retaliation from their bosses.

“Any one of these breakdowns could cause harmful results,” Inspector General Michael Missal’s staff wrote in an 86-page report about the failures to stop the pathologist, Robert Morris Levy. “Together and over an extended period of time, the consequences were devastating, tragic, and deadly.”

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Source: The Washington Post, 2 June 2021

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