Thousands of Veterans At Risk And Dying Because Of A VA Pathologist

Thousands of Veterans At Risk And Dying Because Of A VA Pathologist

Thousands of Veterans At Risk And Dying Because Of A VA Pathologist

THREE THOUSAND veterans medical cases, that we know of, were misdiagnosed by a pathologist working for the Fayetteville VA. These weren’t minor mixups either. 

The story is horrific.

“By the time he and his wife Sara faced Veterans Affairs medical staff across a conference table in September, Kelly Copelin had lost 75 pounds and could swallow only small pieces of solid food. Radiation therapy had blistered his throat.

This was the moment they would finally learn why their lives were so changed. Why when he went to the Fayetteville VA three years earlier with a severe earache, the biopsy came back negative — and he was given antibiotics instead of treatment for what was diagnosed 13 months later as late-stage neck and throat cancer.

The pathologist who had misdiagnosed Copelin’s diseased tissue in 2015 was intoxicated, the hospital’s chief physician told the couple. He had failed to see the squamous cell carcinoma on the slide before him, the doctor said.

“We are so sorry,” Copelin, 63, remembers him saying.”

I cannot even fathom this. Imagine going to the VA and having a doctor inform you that the test shows it was “just an earache.” An earache that was, in reality, CANCER. A diagnosis that should’ve been caught by the pathologist from the start. Except that said pathologist was …DRUNK. Apologies aren’t enough in this case and are of small comfort to retired Air Force master sergeant Kelly Copelin and his family.

As the Washington Post article shows, VA administrators KNEW about Robert Morris Levy’s problems. They KNEW he was a danger to himself and the patients under his care. What did they do? Did they fire him? Did they assign someone to double check his work or even assign someone to supervise him? The answers to all of that is a resounding NO.

The ONLY reason he is no longer on the job? Because he was arrested for a DUI last month.

How many veterans are affected by and now have to live with the consequences of Levy’s carelessness and the INACTION of Levy’s supervisors? How many veterans and their families are now dealing with extraordinary healthcare measures because those in charge at the VA didn’t pay attention to the patients in their care?

Twenty one thousand. Yes, you read that correctly. At best guess the VA says there are at least twenty one thousand veterans out there who are or could be adversely affected by both Levy and the VA’s negligence. Furthermore, it has been found that at least THREE veterans are dead because of Levy’s incompetence.

Yet we are supposed to believe that the VA has been fixing things? We are supposed to believe VA Secretary Wilkie right now?

“Like all health care providers, VA occasionally experiences unexpected adverse outcomes in a small percentage of cases. When that happens, we hold ourselves accountable,” Wilkie said, adding that Fayetteville VA officials are working to “regain the trust” of veterans “while helping bring two things to this situation that have been lacking for far too long: accountability and justice.”

I’m sorry, but “unexpected adverse outcomes in a small percentage of cases” is a load of horseshit. TWENTY ONE THOUSAND veterans are now wondering if their healthcare problems are because of one pathologist’s willful carelessness and the callousness of that VA hospital’s administrators.

When I talk about the thousands of veterans who now have questions, does that include other veterans in addition to the three we know of who died while under the care of that same VA?

Imagine being told you are sick and given invasive treatment, when the test actually said you were healthy. Imagine, you were told you had a minor illness only to find out you had cancer and it was already Stage 4? That’s what happened to Kelly Copelin. How many others of the three thousand botched diagnosis are dealing with the same?

AOC touts the VA as THE model of how government healthcare should be run. 

Horrifically, the Fayetteville VA isn’t the only VA that has jeopardized our veterans health and wellbeing  in the last few years. Our friend Susan Keating reports via People that at least two veterans as a VA hospital in West Virginia were murdered.

So, NO. The VA system is not one we should ever emulate.

To be blunt, those involved should be fired from the VA and never allowed to work in a hospital setting ever again.

Has anyone been fired? NO. SHAME on the VA for that.

This is government run healthcare at its worst. Our veterans healthcare is compromised to the detriment of us all. Again, I urge you to read the entire story.

The veterans ad their families who are now dealing with the consequences of Levy’s carelessness deserve our prayers and support. Those who looked the other way deserve our scorn and should be fired.

Feature Photo Credit: JeffOnWire via Flickr.com, cropped and modified

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3 Comments
  • Scott says:

    Every person involved should be fired, loose their license, and face criminal charges. Facing every one of those 21 thousand families would be good as well.

  • Charles N. Steele says:

    VA is an awful system — a centrally planned bureaucracy — plagued with systematic problems and failures, and providing participants little incentive to correct them, unlike the free market.

    Note that Dems want to impose this sort of system everywhere (and quite a few Rinos are cooperative). They also want such “experts” as Levy to be able to “red flag” us and deprive us of liberty.

    No!

  • Skillyboo says:

    Because it is nearly impossible to remove someone from a federal job, that is why it happened. I speak from personal experience. Three times I thought I crossed all my T’s and dotted my I’s only to have a judge reinstate them to their position. Albeit, without back pay. I have learned there is never enough rope for them to, proverbially, hang themselves, judges always lengthen it.

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