The West Virginia Medical Association and other Mountain State
doctors are complaining that increased numbers of medical
lawsuits and higher malpractice
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
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.