Post Reports

An intoxicated pathologist misdiagnosed 3,000 cases. VA failed to stop him.

Taylor Telford on Walmart’s response to multiple mass shootings. Lisa Rein looks at oversight failures in the Department of Veterans Affairs. And Jessica Contrera reports from what might be the most dramatic dog park in the country.
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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.

In this episode

After mass shootings, big-box stores are responding to public pressure
Walmart will stop selling ammunition for military-style weapons and no longer allow customers to openly carry firearms in stores, joining other big-box chains after facing pressure from gun-control groups, politicians and employees.

Even after banning the sale of military-style rifles in 2015, the world’s largest retailer owned about 20 percent of the ammunition market. That share could now fall to as little as 6 percent, company representatives say. 

“Overall, we’ve seen a wave of companies deciding that they want to integrate stances on political issues, be it immigration or be it gun control, into their identity as a company,” says business reporter Taylor Telford. “And people respond really strongly to that.”

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How a VA pathologist misdiagnosed thousands of cases
For more than 10 years, the chief pathologist for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Fayetteville, Ark., allegedly misdiagnosed patients and falsified records to mask a serious drug and alcohol addiction.

Federal prosecutors have officially charged former pathologist Robert Morris Levy with three counts of involuntary manslaughter, although VA officials acknowledge that he botched the diagnosis of at least 15 patients who later died and 15 others whose health was seriously harmed. He was fired in 2018 after a dozen years of complaints.

Reporter Lisa Rein spoke with patients of the Fayetteville VA and investigated the oversight failures that allowed Levy – as well as other doctors in the agency’s sprawling network of 167 hospitals and 1,000 clinics – to compromise patient care for many years. 

“So many of these cases were instances in which, if these people’s cancer had been caught early, then it could have been eliminated or bigger steps could have been taken,” Rein said. “But by the time they figured out that this mistake had been made many years ago, they had late-stage cancer.”

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The ‘most divisive dog park in the country’ – maybe
Last fall, Chevy Chase Village in Maryland spent $134,000 to turn a muddy triangle of land into a dog park, where pups could run off-leash in a fenced refuge. Controversy ensued.

“The dogs came to the park, and the dogs barked at the park,” reporter Jessica Contrera says. “And that was immediately a problem.”

Up went signs decrying the sound and the parking of non-residents in the wealthy neighborhood. Residents called police to the park daily to deal with noise complaints. The Chevy Chase Village Board of Managers took details of the park down from its website. 

“If you listen to one side, the park is this total noise-fest where the dogs are barking incessantly and the owners don’t care,” Contrera says. “And on the other side, this little patch of land has become this unique, beautiful community gathering spot.”

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.