UPDATE: VA Sets Date on Town Hall Meeting

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The VA Town Hall meeting will be on Sunday, July 9 at 11 a.m., and it will be located at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks,  according to Wanda Shull, the public affairs officer with the VA. 

“The town hall is being held with the goal of ensuring Veterans, their families, and beneficiaries are provided with the most current information; and have their concerns addressed by senior VHSO officials. VHSO will also be joined by representatives from the Veterans Benefits Administration to help answer any related benefits questions Veterans may have,” the news release states. 

Original Story:

The Fayetteville Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks confirmed a patient has possibly died as of result of a misdiagnosis of an impaired doctor. 

The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs and the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville announced Monday morning that they are investigating “all cases read by the pathologist by an external review team,” after reports came out about the possible impairment of a staff pathologist last year.

KNWA spoke with two veterans who said they are directly impacted by this pathologist’s misdiagnoses. 

One thought he was cancer free, and the other is still waiting to find out his fate.

“How am I feeling? I really don’t know. I’m numb,” said Lonnie Young, Misdiagnosed by Impaired Pathologist

Young spent many years overseas protecting our country in Vietnam.

But now, he said he feels betrayed by a place he thought he could trust.

Young is one of at least seven patients who the VA for sure know were misdiagnosed. 

“They once told me I’m cancer free, then they called me back a week later and said no I still have cancer,” said Young. 

Young said he was upset at first, but channeled that anger towards working with the veterans community.

Other vets who said they get their care at the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville said their health status is in limbo.

“I’m thinking, am I one of those people?” said Derl Horn.

Horn also served in Vietnam and said he’s waiting to see if he’s one of the nearly 20,000 patients that have possibly been wrongly diagnosed. 

“To go through all that, and then find out that you may have been misdiagnosed and have problems that you’re not aware of is disturbing,” said Horn.

The Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks will investigate 19,794 cases the pathologist read at the center since 2005, and all of those patients will receive a letter about this investigation.  

On October 13, 2017, the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks received reports of “possible impairment of a staff pathologist,” according to a news release. 

The pathologist was assessed through Employee Health and was found unable to work. The pathologist was then “immediately removed from clinical practice, and has since been terminated,” according to a news release. 

“As a result, the decision has been made to conduct a thorough review of all cases read by the pathologist by an external review team. These independent reviews are being done to ensure the safety of all patients who may be impacted. This team is also charged with developing clear procedures for addressing this matter, including establishing a methodology for tracking second reviews of tests and protocols to notify affected patients,” according to a news release. 

Kelvin L. Parks, Interim Medical Center Director, said the quality and safety are very important to him and actions affecting the care and safety of its patients will not be tolerated at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks.   

If you have been treated by a pathologist since 2005 at the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville and have questions call (866)-388-5428 or (479)-582-7995.  

Stay with KNWA on this developing story. 

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