'Branding' a way of verifying

Published: Saturday, March 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 28, 2003 at 10:32 p.m.

If The Gainesville Sun is going to cover the absurd lawsuit brought in Lexington, Ky., (Feb. 21) because a uterus had been marked with initials before removal, they at least owe it to their readers to explain that the so-called "branding" was, in fact, a highly desirable surgical practice.

Just as the wrong organ occasionally gets transplanted into a person, containers used to send removed body parts from the operating room to the pathology laboratory occasionally get mislabelled.

Marking such a specimen by a surgeon, in some way, to verify which surgeon removed it is simply an additional line of defense in trying to prevent errors.

When dissecting the organ, the pathologist might find a malignancy in a uterus: all women should be grateful for any additional things the surgeon might do to help assure the source of the organ is correctly identified.

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