Doctor won't be disciplined over botched operation

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A former health care company neurosurgeon in suburban St. Louis will face no state disciplinary action for operating on the wrong side of a woman's brain.

Attorney Alvin Wolff Jr. said he is appalled that the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts decided to take no action against Dr. Armond Levy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( ) reports. Wolff, who represented patient Regina Turner in a medical malpractice lawsuit, received a letter from the board last month saying that the matter was closed but that a record of the investigation would remain on file.

"I'm baffled," Wolff said. "I have no idea what it takes for a doctor to even get slapped on the wrist."

Wolff said Turner suffers from Cadasil Syndrome, a disorder that raises her risk of stroke. She went to SSM St. Clare Health Center in Fenton, Missouri, in April 2013 for surgery on the left side of her brain aimed at reducing her stroke risk. The surgery was instead performed on the right side of her brain. SSM Health Care apologized at the time and acknowledged the mistake.

A lawsuit over the surgery was settled in January, but the details are private. The lawsuit said the botched surgery left Turner with potentially lifelong medical problems, with garbled speech and using a wheelchair among them. Levy no longer works for SSM.

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)."


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

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