Settlements near in suits against doctor at former HCA hospital

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- More than 120 malpractice lawsuits against a former West Virginia physician are returning to a state court, and most of his co-defendants appear ready to settle 70 of them.

A federal judge sent back the 124 cases involving Dr. John A. King to a West Virginia circuit court.

With details as yet undisclosed, lawyers in 70 of the cases have negotiated settlements with several of King's co-defendants.

They include Nashville-based Hospital Corporation of America and the former subsidiary through which it owned the former Putnam General Hospital, where King began working in November 2002.

King has surrendered his West Virginia medical license. HCA has since sold the hospital.

The lawsuits allege the 49-year-old osteopath botched surgeries or otherwise harmed patients.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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