September 14th, 2010
01:41 PM ET

Doctor sued for 'branding' patient's uterus

Dr. Red Alinsod is being sued for engraving his patient's name on her uterus.

A California gynecologist is being sued for branding a patient's name on her uterus using an "electrocautery device."

Dr. Red Alinsod removed Ingrid Paulicivic's uterus during an operation at his Orange County office in 2006, according to the complaint posted on The Smoking Gun's website. The Laguna Beach doctor carved "Ingrid" on the organ, according to the site, because he "did not want to get it confused with others."

Alinsod told the site that labeling of body parts in that manner is not typical. But, he said, he "felt comfortable putting her name on the uterus" since the 47-year-old hairdresser was a "good friend."

Paulicivic's attorney, Devan Mullins, told CNN.com that his client did not know her physician before consulting him for the operation. Paulicivic and her husband learned of the branding during a follow-up visit, the lawyer said.

During that visit, Paulicivic complained to Alinsod about burns to her leg that she suffered during the operation, Mullins told CNN.com. The doctor was looking at images that were taken during the operation, and the couple asked for copies.

"Alinsod hesitated to give them the photos," the attorney said, sparking the couple's suspicion that something was wrong. The doctor told the couple that he didn't know how to copy the images, so the husband, who is a photographer, showed Alinsod how to move the images to a memory card, and the couple took them, Mullins said.

Later in the husband's office, the couple looked at the photos and were shocked to see "Ingrid" spelled out in inch-high letters on her uterus.

"They reacted like anyone would react - 'Oh my God, I cannot believe this happened,' " the lawyer said.

The couple hired Mullins, who tried for 90 days to notify Alinsod of an impending complaint, but the doctor did not react. "That's what's been odd - that we've gotten no response from him whatsoever," Mullins said.

CNN.com spoke with Alinsod's office manager Tuesday, who said that the physician was seeing patients and that he would not comment on the litigation.

According to Alinsod's website, he formerly headed gynecologic services at George Air Force Base in California and Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. He was affectionately called a "Combat Gynecologist" by his colleagues, it says.

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soundoff (825 Responses)
  1. rosehips

    I think the uterus deserves the same amount of respect that some men give to their ex-wives. A condo with a view is not much to ask. for all it put up with.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Davida

    The patient was upset with the doctor and then she saw a way to punish him and cash in too. The tattoo is in very poor judgement and the doc should have to answer to the board for an ethical violation- not pay big. The leg burn was a mistake. Why does everyone cry sue? Why not just realize honest mistakes happen? Anybody with an accident or bad luck or poor outcome wants to get a big pay day. What about working for money? Big law suits hurt everyone! Everyone eventually pays more for healthcare. The doctor deserves punishment but why try to destroy him for mistakes.? Why punish society too?

    September 14, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Marilyn

    Here's the deal:

    Using any cautery during surgery requires the use of a grounding pad placed on the patient's thigh. This is to prevent an ungrounded electrical current coursing through the patient's body during surgery. There is a small chance of burns, (it's electrcity, people!) but this *should* be included in the consent paperwork, which patients must agree to and sign prior to surgery.

    Hysterectomies are the most common surgery performed in the US, and the majority of them are performed not for malignancy but for excessive uterine bleeding. All surgical specimens must be sent to pathology for analysis, and are then sent to the incinerator. Any samples, slides, or leftover material are NOT the patient's prperty once they are removed from the patient's body. Yeah, the branding was weird, but he did not cause harm to the patient by doing so.

    This lawsuit is bogus and will likely be thrown out in less time than it took for everyone to read this article!

    September 14, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      Where do you get your expertise?

      September 14, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marilyn

      @ThisandThat:

      I am a physician assistant who works in gynecology, performing routine exams and as first-assist in gynecological surgeries. Where did you get your expertise?

      September 14, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. quinlwy

    not sure what the fuss is all about

    September 14, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. M

    It was removed and tagged end of story. It isnt the doctors fault her uterus had to be removed, what the hell is this really about...there is an old saying..."Hurt People.. Hurt People" Get over it and get on with your life you have no damages to claim against this doctor.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ohgeezegroup

    Ok...tell me....what's the issue? a uterus is "branded" soo? Is this woman planning on saving it herself for later use? Yes, no? If not, then why are they sueing? No wonder we are sky high on medical bills/malpractice. First of all, I'm assuming (shouldn't however, as we all know what assume means) that the uterus was taken out of her FIRST! so the branding isn't the cause of her legs burning and the branding was done to her uterus on the outside of her body...

    September 14, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ketrout

    This is stupid! This is only about greed and the couple wanting to sue for dollars! I can not believe how so many people are so GREEDY and will sue for ANY reason. The couple seen that they could take advantage of this doctor and make some money off of him. We don't need people like them around here.

    GREED, GREED, GREED.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sandy

    who cares ?
    The uterus was going to be destroyed anyway.. most probably incinerated.. will be ashes by now...

    If she was suing for burns on her leg, I could understand at least...

    September 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Amber

    Who cares? The organ had to be removed and she isn't going to use it anymore. I don't understand why they are upset by the branding of the uterus.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David Fitzgerald

    Another dumb lawsuit by a litigation happy country. Shiny happy people holding hands...

    September 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. miscn

    I totally agree with Billz "what's the injury? emotional? crap!" I'm an ER intern right now. Do people know the absolute BS doctors have to deal with day in and day out. Most of us started out just wanting to help people. Instead you get kicked in the teeth for four years, rack up a quarter of a million in debt, and then when you think that you are finally starting to help people, they start suing you. I should have kept my job as a driver for pizza hut. I was happy. I made people happy. Hardly anybody lied to me or tried to get drugs from me and I never got sued.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tbazz

    I wouldn't want to go to that Dr.! I would be imagining him at home with a closet full of uteri in jars with women's names on them. Creeeeepy!

    September 14, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. KLM

    SERIOUSLY!!! Some of these comments are such over exaggerations!! If she had never knew of the pictures, she and her husband never would have been the wiser. The majority of the comments made me LOL....in GOOD way!

    September 14, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TacoLady

    The uterus was removed so I don't see how that part of it is a big deal. If a burning tool is used in the process normally maybe to cauterize blood vessles then that could expain the burns. If it's a case of malpractice for the burns then he should pay for whatever therapy is needed to get her skin back to the way it was. That could mean a tube of neosporin and a bottle of cocoa butter. I personally would have been more freaked out about pictures/video being taken then the fact that my uterus that's going in the trash has been branded.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Shelley

    He burnt her legs, so, that in itself is not good practice. If he removed her uterus and "branded" it..... I don't understand who elses uterus did he think he "may" get hers confused with? It's not like he was going to put it back inside of her!!! This seems like a really weird "practice" by a Doctor to me.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      Have you read the previous comments? Burns from the cauterizing tool are commmon and often can't be avoided. They don't mean that anything "wrong" was done.

      September 14, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
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