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Blind Man Sues Hospital for 'KKK' Surgery Scar

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

A blind Native American man says that doctors at a South Dakota hospital discriminated against him by intentionally carving a KKK surgery scar into his abdomen.

But hospital staff and police have no idea what the Lakota man is talking about. To be fair, 69-year-old Vern Traversie has obvious scars on his stomach, but it takes some effort to make out the letters "KKK."

Traversie is suing the hospital for unspecified damages and claims that he was mistreated at the hospital on account of his race even before the surgical scar, reports The Associated Press.

Regardless of what you see in Traversie's abdomen, the incident has sparked an outcry for the racial animosity that Native Americans in the area say they face from whites.

Last year, Traversie went to the Rapid City Regional Hospital for double-bypass heart surgery. While Traversie is blind, he says that when he emerged, other people told him that his scar spelled out KKK, reports the AP.

It's not clear why the lawsuit was brought in federal court. One guess may be that the hospital receives federal funds and as a result agreed to abide by nondiscriminatory practices. Certainly, carving the name of the organization responsible for some of the most egregious hate crimes into the stomach of a Native American man would be a discriminatory practice.

However, it will be interesting to see how Traversie proves that the scar says what he thinks it says. If you showed the man's KKK surgery scar to 100 different people, you'd probably get 100 different responses to what's there. Similar to a Rorschach test, those predisposed to seeing KKK will more likely see it. And those predisposed to seeing something innocuous will likely see that.

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