- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A civil trial is underway in a case in which a man alleges Rapid City Regional Hospital workers intentionally carved the letters “KKK” into his abdomen during heart surgery.

Seventy-one-year-old Vernon Traversie, of Eagle Butte, is suing in federal court for alleged violations of civil rights, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He’s seeking unspecified money damages.

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

State and federal authorities earlier concluded there was no criminal wrongdoing. A federal judge last September rejected Traversie’s medical negligence allegation but allowed Traversie to pursue his other claims.

Hospital attorney Jeffrey Hurd says the marks on Traversie’s abdomen were the result of a skin reaction to medical tape.

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