Web Exclusive: Veteran dies weeks before Levy sentencing, missing chance to see justice

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Jerry Kolpek was misdiagnosed by pathologist Robert Levy in 2012.

Fayetteville, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A veteran misdiagnosed by former VA pathologist Dr. Robert Levy dies just three weeks before sentencing.

KNWA first introduced you to Jerry Kolpek in August 2019. Kolpek is one of at least 30 patients Levy misdiagnosed during his time at the VA.

For Kolpek, military service was in his blood.

“I think he spent a little over a year of that in Hawaii as a radio maintenance technician which I thought was interesting because I didn’t even know he knew how to work on radios growing up,” his son Doug Kolpek said with a laugh.

Jerry Kolpek spent six years in the military. His dad and his grandfather both served before him.

“The military part meant a lot to him, especially when his family was all apart of that,” Doug Kolpek said.

He started to get sick in 2012, but Fayetteville VA Dr. Robert Levy said it was nothing. Six years later, he found out he had stage four cancer. As he started his cancer treatments, he followed the levy case in court.

“He would always ask, have you heard anything if we knew anything and we were hoping to have some resolution of this obviously a few months ago,” Doug Kolpek said.

Sentencing was postponed. Kolpek died before the new date.

“It’s really unfortunate he didn’t get to live long enough to see how it played out and see what justice came from it,” Dough Kolpek said.

It is a challenging time for the Kolpek’s, made even worse by COVID-19.

“In the end, he was in the hospital over Christmas and he wasn’t allowed any visitors at that point. It wasn’t until a few days later until he was basically end of life that we got to go see him,” Doug Kolpek said.

He was forced to spend much of his last year avoiding any potential exposure to COVID-19.

“Things were already bad enough for him. To have this last year be the way it was, it was heartbreaking for him,” Doug Kolpek said.

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