VA Doctor reported drunk at work months before patient’s death

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Fayetteville, AR (KNWA/KFTA) — The Office of the Inspector General sites Oversight Failures at the Fayetteville VA.

Judy Velosky spent the afternoon pouring through documents.

“It’s surprising to see it all written out,” she said.

In these pages are clues into her father’s death.

“There were a lot of opportunities to correct and fix this situation which could have saved my dad’s life and probably several others,” Velosky said.

Velosky’s dad, Staff Sargent J.R. Gibbs died while under the care of pathologist Dr. Robert Levy. Levy misdiagnosed Gibbs during the same time he was reportedly drunk on the job. That is one of the thousands of mistakes that Levy made in his 13 years at the VA.

“The report even says there’s hundreds of veterans that were affected by him in one way or another and I don’t know how that couldn’t have been prevented had property procedures been followed or even set in place,” Velosky said.

The Inspector General’s office released a 100-page report outlining failures in oversight at the Fayetteville VA. It shows that in early 2014, Levy smelled of alcohol but nothing was ever done about it. Four months later, Gibbs died. Levy was reported drunk again in 2015 and he even agreed to alcohol testing, but it was never done.

“It’s just a plethora of things that occurred that I feel like the VA had yet to be held responsible for,” Velosky said.

The report says that had the VA properly investigated red flags, Levy might have been removed from his job sooner. It is just the latest development in this case that has been taking shape since 2017.

“It’s hard to re-live it all. You know, most people don’t have to do that. But I don’t mind doing it in order to get the justice that is deserved for my family and other families,” Velosky said.

So she keeps fighting to learn more. Velosky has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the United States.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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