FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Veterans who were once under the care of a VA Pathologist are voicing their frustrations.
Their lives have been changed forever because of Dr. Robert Morris Levy, who was found to be impaired on the job and is accused of misdiagnosing several patients during his time with the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville.
Levy was indicted on 31 counts, including involuntary manslaughter.
Jerry Kolpek, 82, was misdiagnosed by Dr. Levy in 2012.
What Dr. Levy said was nothing, turned out to be stage IV prostate cancer six years later.
“The good news is your organs aren’t affected, the bad news he says it’s in every freaking bone in your body,” Kolpek said when talking about the call he got when the doctor informed him he had cancer.
Kolpek was cleared after his samples were sent to Dr. Levy.
When he found out about his cancer six years later, he said he was in shock.
“When I found out that it was a mistake made by the pathologist, I just couldn’t believe it,” he said.
Attorney Monte Sharits of Odom Law Firm is representing several victims of Dr. Levy, including Kolpek, who has filed a federal tort claim.
“The VA is experiencing a significant backlog of these tort claims and they weren’t able to process them in a six month time period which kinda adds insult to injury,” Attorney Sharits said.
Both Attorney Sharits and Kolpek can’t believe how long Dr. Levy’s misdiagnoses went on before action was taken against him.
A year long review, showed Dr. Levy made 3,000 errors and misdiagnosed 30 patients. Fifteen have died.
Kolpek and his attorney still don’t have an explanation from the VA.
“These are people that have fought for this country and to be treated that way is gross,” Attorney Sharits said.
“It would be nice to have an explanation out of them how it came about,” Kolpek said.
The hardest part of this whole experience for Kolpek was having to do it while watching his wife go through intensive care and losing her life to Alzheimer’s.
An emotional Kolpek said, “I could go over and explain to her what I was going through and she would kinda understand and by the time I would leave that night she didn’t remember any of it.”
Kolpek can’t do what he loves like golfing and fishing, but despite it all he still remains positive.
“It gives me a fighting chance, I still have a fighting chance to live a somewhat prosperous life,” he said.
Attorney Sharits said everyone deserves better, but the fact these people were veterans makes this situation worse.
Both Attorney Sharits and Kolpek hopes an explanation from the VA comes sooner rather than later.