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Prenatal care issues may lead to W.Va. medical malpractice suits

Many women have to travel hours to get prenatal care in the Mountain State. These distances have contributed to medical malpractice cases in West Virginia. Because of the vast rural areas in the state, traveling for prenatal care for many soon-to-be moms isn't out of the ordinary, but more health care providers in country areas would be a step in the right direction.

Statistics show that almost half of all counties in the U.S. don't have a practicing ob-gyn. In fact, the U.S. is looking at a shortfall of between 6,000-8,000 ob-gyns by 2020 and about 22,000 by 2050. General practitioners were taking up a lot of slack and providing a lot of care for moms, but that has all but stopped. An increase in medical malpractice cases from the late 1990s to the early 2000s lead to an increase in family doctors' insurance premiums, so most GPs stopped prenatal care services.

Many hospitals have closed their birthing facilities. So, many women have to leave their home areas for care. Prenatal visits may be offered by some GPs who don't do births, but the two things usually are offered together. Most doctors don't want to take the risk.

West Virginia residents who believe their health care, or lack of, may have contributed to injury or ill health would do well to consult with an attorney experienced in medical malpractice suits. Family members who believe their loved one died because of health care negligence may also wish to consult with an attorney. A seasoned attorney will be able to guide his or her clients in making a compensation claim. 

Source: wvpublic.org, "W.Va. Women Lack Adequate Access to Prenatal Care", Kara Leigh Lofton, Sept. 8, 2017

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