Colo. Sex-Change Surgeon Retires After Losing Malpractice Insurance

January 3, 2005

Dr. Stanley Biber, who gained an international reputation as a sex-change surgeon until he stopped doing surgery in 2003, has closed his Trinidad, Colorado small office practice because he cannot get malpractice insurance.

Biber, 81, said he had been seeing a few longtime patients for minor ailments until Dec. 21, when he was told by the state Board of Medical Examiners he could not practice without insurance.

“I was just doing a little office practice in the morning and I certainly wasn’t aware of the fact that you had to have malpractice insurance to maintain your license,” Biber said.

Geoff Hier, a spokesman for the state Department of Regulatory Agencies, said he couldn’t comment on Biber’s case, citing confidentiality rules. He said Colorado is one of eight states that require doctors to have malpractice insurance.

Biber said insurers refused to renew his malpractice coverage in 2003. He said they gave no reason but he suspected it was because of his age.

Starting in 1969, Biber performed thousands of gender operations, earning Trinidad the nickname of “sex change capital of the world.”

Biber said he’ll now spend his time managing his ranch east of town.

“I guess I’m too old to practice medicine but I’m healthy enough to go do the physical labor on a ranch,” he said.

Former Mayor and Harry Sayre said Biber, who served as a Las Animas County commissioner and was active in public affairs, was a pillar of the community.

“I consider him probably one of the outstanding leaders in Trinidad of the last century,” Sayre said. “He and I had our battles many years ago, but I consider him a real true friend.”

Trinidad, nestled below Raton Pass on the Colorado-New Mexico border, is 170 miles south of Denver.

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