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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