By Physician’s Weekly Blogger, Skeptical Scalpel
Robert M. Levy, a former pathologist at a Veterans Administration hospital in Arkansas, pleaded guilty in federal court to involuntary manslaughter for misdiagnosing a small-cell carcinoma as a lymphoma which led to the patient’s death. An ABC news story said he also falsified the records to indicate that another pathologist had agreed with his diagnosis.
Some 34,000 cases of his were reviewed by outside pathologists who found over 3000 errors and misdiagnoses. He had worked at the VA hospital from 2005 to 2018 when he was fired after having been arrested for driving under the influence and working while impaired on several occasions.
Near the end of his tenure, he had resumed work after spending time in rehab and was being monitored with blood and urine tests. In order to circumvent the monitoring, he fraudulently obtained 2-methyl-2 butanol—a solvent not detectable by routine screening laboratory tests—used by some as a recreational drug.
Levy’s sentencing hearing featured testimony from families of patients and a video of a now-deceased patient who was harmed by him.
He received concurrent sentences of 8 years in prison for the manslaughter charge and 20 years for mail fraud and was ordered to pay restitution of nearly $500,000 to the VA which spent $2.1 million on the review of his cases.
This is a tragic case for veterans who were treated at that hospital and their families. It underscores how powerful an addiction to alcohol can be.
Dr. Simone Gold, a founder of America’s Frontline Doctors, was arrested for participating in the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol building. The Washington Post had published photographs of her carrying a bullhorn and speaking in the Capitol rotunda.
America’s Frontline Doctors consists of a few physicians almost all of whom are not on the front lines. One of them, Dr. Stella Immanuel, “often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.”
They are vaccine-deniers who touted the use of hydroxychloroquine which several studies have shown is not efficacious in the prevention or treatment of Covid-19. The FDA revoked its emergency use authorization for the drug back in June 2020.
According to the Post, speeches by Gold and others criticizing lockdowns and other government actions to stop the virus at a July appearance on the steps of the Supreme Court were live-streamed by several conservative media outlets and viewed over 14,000,000 times.
The organization’s website says over $120,000 has been raised for Gold’s defense fund so she can continue to lead “the fight to save innocent lives and expose massive medical disinformation.”
Gold was fired from emergency physician jobs at two California hospitals in July and “was worried that photos of her inside the capital would distract from her advocacy work with America’s Frontline Doctors.”
Well at least there is some good news.
Skeptical Scalpel is a retired surgeon and was a surgical department chair and residency program director for many years. He is board-certified in general surgery and a surgical sub-specialty and has re-certified in both several times. For the last 9 years, he has been blogging at SkepticalScalpel.blogspot.com and tweeting as @SkepticScalpel. His blog has had more than 3,700,000 page views, and he has over 21,000 followers on Twitter.