Several surgeons at the two largest hospitals in Wheeling, W. Va., said they plan to walk off the job Jan. 1 to protest high malpractice insurance costs. Eighteen doctors have filed for 30-day leaves of absence from 276-bed Wheeling Hospital, forcing the cancellation of all elective surgeries after Dec. 31 and raising the threat of layoffs. About a dozen surgeons in the same fields -- orthopedic, thoracic-cardiovascular and general surgery -- also have filed for leaves of absence at 369-bed Ohio Valley Medical Center. Many of the doctors work at both hospitals. Officials said some elective surgeries have been canceled, but the emergency rooms at both hospitals are scheduled to remain open 24 hours a day. -- by Michael Romano
W.Va. docs to stop work to protest insurance rates
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