UPDATED at 1 p.m. Monday with information about doctor's admitting privileges
Dr. Armond Levy, the former SSM Health neurosurgeon who operated on the wrong side of a woman’s brain last year, will face no state disciplinary action for the mistake.
The case is now considered closed, according to a letter sent to Alvin Wolff Jr., the woman’s attorney, by the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts.
“A record of the investigation, however, is being retained in the permanent files of the Board of Healing Arts,” the letter, dated Nov. 17, states.
The wrong-site surgery occurred in April 2013 at St. Clare Health Center in Fenton. A medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against SSM and Levy, alleging that the surgery left Regina Turner needing around-the-clock care. The lawsuit was later settled out of court and Levy is no longer working for SSM and does not have admitting privileges at SSM hospitals. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Wolff, who filed the complaint with the board that led to the review, said he’s appalled by the decision not to discipline Levy.
“I’m baffled,” Wolff said. “I have no idea what it takes for a doctor to even get slapped on the wrist.”
Wolff doesn’t think Levy should lose his license but would have been in favor of some sort of sanction, he said.
Levy, who now runs St. Louis Neurosurgery LLC in Valley Park, said in a statement to the Post-Dispatch: “I cannot speak for the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, but I respect their authority and their decisions. My understanding is that the Board’s responsibility is thorough investigation of such events, based upon all the details of the case at hand. I trust that their decision in this case was accordingly just and appropriate.”
Marty Perron, a Creve Coeur-based malpractice attorney with Perron Law Firm, said there are many sanctions the state board could have imposed. But Perron said the board disciplining doctors is a rare occurrence.
“I don’t think it’s common for doctors to be sanctioned in Missouri at all,” Perron said.
In a statement, spokesman Chris Cline said the board’s reviews are “based on the evidence gathered during an investigation in accordance with (state statute).”