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The Nation

Nev. Governor Faulted on Surgery

Politics: Election foe says Guinn's choice of UCLA for operation shows lack of faith in state's system.

September 25, 2002|From Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Gov. Kenny Guinn's decision to go out of state for prostate surgery isn't unprecedented, but his general election opponent says it shows a lack of faith in Nevada's health-care system.

State Sen. Joe Neal, considered a longshot to beat the Republican incumbent Nov. 5, said Guinn could have found decent care in state.

"I do have some concerns that he's not able to trust the doctors here," Neal said. "That only speaks to his lack of trust."

Guinn consulted with both his family physician, Dr. Sara Smith, and a specialist, Dr. Ranjit Jain, in Las Vegas before opting for surgery Monday at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Jain and Dr. Ikram Khan of Las Vegas, who had worked closely with the governor during the height of the medical malpractice crisis, were in the operating room when Dr. Jean B. deKernion, chairman of the urology department at UCLA, performed the two-hour operation to remove the governor's prostate.

Former Gov. Bob Miller also left the state for prostate surgery, opting for Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, when he was the state's chief executive.

Guinn, 66, who had registered at the UCLA Medical Center under a different name, was reported awake Tuesday and feeling better. The operation was described as a success.

"He's out of bed and sitting in a chair," said Khan. "The patient is doing very well, cracking jokes."

Guinn's wife, Dema, said the governor was walking up and down hallways at the hospital.

While Guinn is out of state, Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt is in charge.

"Hopefully there will not be anything traumatic and he will be back on the job soon," Hunt said, adding that she has been acting governor before and does not plan any major actions.

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