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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





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





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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