- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A man who alleges Rapid City hospital workers abused him and intentionally carved the letters “KKK” into his abdomen during heart surgery has been allowed to pursue three of four claims in a federal lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken has rejected Vernon Traversie’s medical negligence allegation. Viken, however, has allowed Traversie to pursue claims for a violation of civil rights, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Traversie is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. He says the abuse occurred in 2011.

The case earlier was referred to state and federal authorities. Attorney General Marty Jackley in 2012 said investigations found no evidence of criminal or intentional conduct. The investigations found the marks were the result of a skin reaction to medical grade tape.

Defendants in the lawsuit include Rapid City Regional Hospital.

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