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ABOUT THIS SERIES ...

 

The West Virginia Medical Association and other Mountain State

 

doctors are complaining that increased numbers of medical

 

malpractice lawsuits and higher malpractice insurance

 

premiums are creating a health-care crisis in the state.

 

 

To examine these allegations, the Sunday-Gazette Mail reviewed

 

thousands of pages of malpractice reports filed with the state

 

Board of Medicine.

 

 

About 3,000 of these reports, filed between Jan. 1, 1993, and Dec. 31,

 

2000, were entered into a computer database. The medical board provided

 

paper copies of the reports in nine, 3-inch-thick binders.

 

 

The analysis in this series was based on a smaller set of those

 

reports.

 

 

This series did not consider 836 reports from cases that were resolved

 

before Jan. 1, 1993. Those reports were examined in previous stories.

 

 

This analysis also did not cover 178 reports of cases filed over breast

 

implants. These cases were considered by the newspaper to be product

 

liability lawsuits, not claims of medical malpractice.

 

 

In all, the Gazette-Mail analyzed the results of 2,260 medical

 

malpractice complaints that were resolved over the last eight

 

years.

 

 

Previously, West Virginia doctors and insurance companies were required

 

to file with the medical board all reports of medical malpractice

 

  • uits within 30 days of when the suits were resolved. In 1999, the
  •  

    Legislature changed that law. Today, cases that were dismissed do not have

     

    to be reported.

     

     


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