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Nine Women Want to Join Branding Lawsuit

Feb 20, 2003 | AP

Nine women are asking to join a lawsuit against a surgeon accused of branding the initials of his alma mater the University of Kentucky onto a patient's uterus during a hysterectomy.

The women including a former nurse of Dr. James M. Guiler say they discovered they had been similarly branded after watching videotapes Guiler had provided of their procedures.

"I didn't realize that he was doing this to everybody," said Dana Kelly, 41, a nurse who used to work in Guiler's office.

The original lawsuit was filed Jan. 22 by Stephanie and David Means, who claim Guiler carved "UK" on Stephanie Means' uterus during her hysterectomy last August. She also had been given a videotape, and watched it after she experienced hemorrhaging following the surgery.

The nine women petitioned Fayette County Circuit Court on Wednesday to join the lawsuit, which asks for a jury trial. The lawsuit doesn't specify a dollar amount; the women are seeking punitive damages.

Guiler's attorney, Don Brown, said his client denies the procedure was inappropriate.

"We strongly deny any wrongdoing," he said.

Previously, Guiler defended the practice, saying 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 has said in a statement.

The women said they believe the uterine markings are unnecessary.

"As professionals, we all have standards we have to go by," said one of the women, Vickie Anderson, 38. "He crossed the line. It's chauvinistic, arrogant and shows a total disrespect for women."

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