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. amanda

    Beides the fact that what this doctor did was wrong on SO many levels, I am curious to know how the "branding" procedure was listed when he billed the patient for it. What he did was just plain sick and was no less wrong than mutilating a corpse for which, if convicted, one would be imprisoned for. I hope they take him for everything he's worth and then some!

    September 15, 2010 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
    • JC

      Only error he made was in permitting them to walk out with photographs of a surgical procedure that would appear as gross to someone outside ofthe medical community. But you say they had a right to see the photos no they did not and no they have no right to copies of his medical records even it they pertain to the individual. The medical records are private proerty of the physican not the pateint.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. donna

    At first I was grossed out, but I think it actually does make sense. If her uterus was removed, there was probably a reason: tumors, polyps, cancer. Those tests are probably done in a lab, so putting a name on it might prevent any medical mix-up.

    September 15, 2010 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Yaya

      Correct, whats the big deal?

      September 15, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. donna

    And to hemmy , a stillborn is a person, even though he or she is not a live; a uterus is an organ.

    September 15, 2010 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jean V

    ALL removed organs and tissue need to go to a board-certified pathologist for examination. The tissue he branded might have had signs of cancer that were obliterated by his stupid stunt. Removed body tissue isn't play-dough. It's medically necessary that it be handled just so. He's a dolt.

    September 15, 2010 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. Arglebargle

    What's so odd about that? If the good doctor looked upon her Uterus as a friend, what's the big deal? I mean, golly...everybody needs a friend.

    LMAO!!

    September 15, 2010 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. veronicka

    disgusting!

    September 15, 2010 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tom

    If the specimen removed had an ID cauterized on it after removal...what's the big deal? At that point it's just a lab specimen. I think these folks smell money and insurance settlement...and that's what puts the costs up for the rest of us!

    September 15, 2010 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. John

    This lady needs 2 get over it. The Dr "removed" the uterus. Meaning something was wrong and it was taken out. It is medical waste once removed. Someone had to have told her "hey u can sue", and of course look what she's doing. Anything 4 a buck huh Ingrid? Grow up!!

    September 15, 2010 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. KJ

    He needed to be sure he didn't get it confused with all the other uteri in his collection so instead of just putting it in some container with a label on it or something way less freakin' gross, he just decided to sear her name into it; no biggie he seems totally rational and of sound mind to be operating on people.

    September 15, 2010 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. cp

    I read the lawsuit and it isn't about branding her uterus but rather the burns on her legs. The lawsuit claims the burns somehow occurred when Dr. Alinsod used the electrocautery device to brand the extracted organ in the patient's vicinity. The lawsuit further claims that the injuries to her legs are so severe and so debilitating that she is unable to perform housework or resume normal relations with her husband. Now, if you're find this a little hard to believe, you're not alone. An electrocautery device is nothing special; think 'modified wood burning tool'. They are used specifically to burn flesh and thus can cause injury. But a debilitating injury? Unless he spent minutes burning her legs I just don't see how that's possible. On that note the lawsuit does not contend malicious intent, only indirect consequence. It's an interesting case, but something doesn't add up.

    September 15, 2010 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      That's just pleading boilerplate language on a loss of consortium claim.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • My Opinion Only

      If the injuries were that severe and debilitating, why did she wait until a follow-up visit to mention them? I would tihink that many couples would have problems with intimacy after the woman has had an hysterectomy. That could have nothing to do with the burns.

      September 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ken

    He REMOVED the uterus. It's a dead piece of meat then. If the doctor wants to label it in some fashion for tracking, what's the problem. All I see here are two people grasping at something to try and squeeze some money out of insurance companies (which we then pay for in higher medical costs). The two should be ashamed of themselves, and their lawyer disbarred for filing such a frivilous suit.

    And for those who insist the organ had to be attached for the tool to work .. all you need is an electrical circuit. And this can easily be done outside the body, something the defense will show in the case.

    For those wondering why the labelling, he is a gynecologist at a large complex where many such surgeries are being done each day. Of course if their labelling procedures for removed materials is poor enough that the doctor feels a need to do this, well the medical center and their procedures should be questioned as this should not be required.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jeanette

    So I don't understand what is she suing him for? The pain to her leg or the fact he branded her name on her uterus that was taken out. Another silly lawsuit. Well I hope she does not win and have to pay for the doctor attorneys fee.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. tet1953

    I can see where this might make some ppl a little squirmish or even peeved, but I don't see it as a big deal. The organ was medical waste at that point, never meant to be seen by anyone.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ron

    Who cares? It’s going in the trash. He calls her a good friend & she blatantly denies it. She’s a hair dresser so clearly she needs the money. Sigh… people will sue for anything these days.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. fig

    if all you people sayig WHO CARES actually READ the article, you would see he lied about her being a good friend, and he burned her leg..... NOW, doesnt the branding seem odd? and at the dermatologist they have hundreds of moles collected and manage to not get them mixed up. the ID # is onthe bag... you dont need to brand the mole. why brand a uterus? because hes a complete nut job and i hope he rots in prison

    September 15, 2010 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
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