Judge sets Nov. 10 trial date for teen charged in sniper case

Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 1:00 a.m.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A surgeon being sued for branding a patient's uterus with the initials of his alma mater - the University of Kentucky - defended his actions Tuesday as a routine part of a hysterectomy.
Dr. Michael Guiler said in a statement that marking the uterus gives doctors a point of reference before it is removed.
Guiler, who used a cauterizing instrument to brand "UK" on Stephanie Means' uterus, said the letters marked the organ's midline and distinguished its left and right side.
"Not only am I always able to remain oriented for the patient's safety, I felt this was honorable since it made reference to the college of medicine where I received my medical degree," he said in the statement, which he read to reporters.
Guiler emphasized that the markings "were not intended to demean the patient in any way and were done only with the patient's safety in mind."
Means filed suit last week, claiming she suffered emotional distress after viewing a videotape of last year's operation.
She and her husband are seeking unspecified damages.
Earlier, in interviews on ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today," Guiler said that before surgery, patients are informed about the procedure, how it is performed and about the need to mark the uterus. But he said the type of marking was not previously discussed.
Kim Alumbaugh, chairwoman of the Kentucky chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said some surgeons rely on stitches, burn marks or other identifiers before removing an organ.
Alumbaugh declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit but said the state medical licensing board will probably review the case.
"A situation like this, where there is some controversy, will be reviewed, and rightly so to evaluate it for appropriate medical procedure," she said. "In any surgical procedure, the dignity of the patient must be respected."

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