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 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 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. 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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Filed under: Courts • Health Care
soundoff (825 Responses)
  1. Aili

    She wanted to see the pictures cuz her leg was burnt. Apparently while tagging her name on the uterus, he burnt her leg. I think she has right to be upset when her doctorr burnt her leg while doing something stupid like writing her name on her uterus.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracey

      Ah, one of the very few who understood the story. Apparently, they don't teach reading comprehension in schools anymore.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • THX

      Agreed. If I had heart surgery and woke up with burns on my butt I'd be asking *lots* of questions.

      September 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. katsrule

    Who cares?!?!?!?! They are looking for a reason to sue!!!! This is why our health care system is so screwed up. The organ was removed. She is not going to use it anymore. Who cares if he carved her name on it, stomped on it, or danced on it. At least he didn't carve an expletive, which is what she deserved. I don't believe their story. The burn in the leg may have been made up, or the cautery laying inappropriately, not necessarily bc of the carving. They are trying to come up w something to sue.

    And for the poor doctor that thought the lady was a "good friend", that's why you don't treat anybody differently or do favors. Working in the veterinarian field, we tell clients the way things are and what should be done. If they don't like it, they can go somewhere else. We encourage second opinion. Owners like that won't do anything for their pet anyway. No buts or ifs. They may label me as insensitive, but when you do favors is when you get burned. From experience, the "nicer" people are the worst backstabbers. Everybody is looking for somebody to sue.

    What's up w CNN and their anti-doctor articles lately? And they are not even articles where the doctor is guilty of gross malpractice, like amputating the wrong leg or diagnosing pneumonia as lung cancer.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vivian

      she claims that she didnt even know him....

      September 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tati

    I have come to realize that people sue over the most STUPID stuff. I don't blame them (however I wouldn't do it), many times they win and get money. Who would like a bit of extra money now-a-days. Either way, I'm siding with the slightly stupid doctor (stupid for not thinking). It's nothing to sue over.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Aezel

    I would say that once you have chosen to have an organ removed, the doctors and hospital can pretty much choose to label it for identification however they please. He wrote her name right on the organ. The other option would have been a staple tag through it, or being bagged and labeled. Who cares, it is a couple hours away from an incinerator at that point anyway.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joeriel

    If he cauterized the initials while the uterus was still attached, then the lawsuit could be along the lines of:

    1 – He endangered her life unnecessarily by keeping her under anesthesia longer than necessary
    2 – He inflicted collateral damage to healthy organs/body parts (her legs) by performing a non standard medical practice

    September 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      A logical thinker here.

      September 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • loreebeeeeeeeeber

      Except that you need three elements to prove and win a case. I doubt she has all three.

      September 14, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lee

    I believed the uterus was removed before it was branded, though I'm not sure why she is talking about burning on her leg unless her leg was too close to the brander? Anyways, I don't see the big deal, she wasn't planning on taking it with her was she?

    September 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. guy

    Brand know what:)

    September 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Shannon

    Doing unnecessary procedures is considered malpractice.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • loreebeeeeeeeeber

      Malpractice must be proven via expert testimony (other medical doctors in the same field of practice). Will she be able to do that? Who knows.

      September 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJ

      what was the unnecessary procedure? Are you saying the hysterectomy was not warranted.. I'm assuming you examined her and are basing this on your years of medical schooling and your license to practice medicine. Or are you referring to "branding" her uterus after it was removed from her body. If that is the case that is not a medical procedure

      September 15, 2010 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Vince

    Not sure what the problem is...she went to him to have the uterus's gone...he did that successfully...not sure why this is something she can sue over...

    September 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey

    Perhaps we all need to take a look at the Hippocratic Oath. I haven't included a link here because it can easily be found on anyone's preferred search engine or medical website. Whether you reference the original or modern version, it still comes down to the same thing, respect for the dignity of the patient and the oath to cause no harm. This sort of behavior should never be tolerated.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      The doctor removed her uterus, then kept the dead tissue for some sort of study? And instead of labeling whatever container he put it in, he used a laser to put her name on it? I don't understand the emotional attachment. I had a hysterectomy several years ago. I have no idea what happened to the thing, nor do I care. The doctor could be using it as a sling shot for all I car. Here's an analogy: if you had your appendix removed, and the doctor branded that with your name and kept it, would you be upset enough to sue? This all sounds like "fishing for dollars" to me.

      September 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jessica, Grand Rapids MI

      I agree, this smells like a lawsuit for a struggling hairdresser. Im not disagreeing that perhaps what he did was not entirely professional, but I also wont go so far as to say it was unprofessional. He didnt take dirty pics with the uterus...he simply labelled it in an unorthodox way.

      September 14, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim D.

      I agree Joey. I would be devastated to learn that my uterus had to be removed, probably like a man would feel if he had to have his penis removed. It's not something that I wake up one day and say to myself, " I'd like to open up my insides and cut out one of my organs, expose myself to infection, and damage all my intestinal muscles so that they bulge out and become herniated because of the weakness." because I feel like it. By the way I have had uterine surgery twice, and I'd like to keep my uterus thank you very much.

      September 14, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dan Beach

    Just proud of his work i guess....

    September 14, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan Beach

    Good thing he didn't brand her (_x_)

    September 14, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeremy Rose

    So did anyone actualy READ the article? her leg got BURNED! Ever hear of cause and effect! Also I wonder where he learned this technique? Could it be from his former employment at Nellis Air Force Base! branding aliens at AREA 51! come on people WAKE UP!

    September 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • spaz33g

      I don't know wheter to laugh or cry at that

      September 15, 2010 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
    • HATEitorLUVit

      Too Funny.......

      September 26, 2010 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. sparklystar

    I certainly wouldn't sue him. But I WOULD report him to the AMA. If he thinks this behaviour is appropriate for a doctor/patient relationship, what else has he done? This is probably not the first time he has done something inappropriate. This is just the first time he got caught and his professional ethics need to be investigated.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teethdood

      The AMA has no authority over him. It is an organization that fights on behalf of physicians. You probably meant the State Board or Licensing Authority. From what was reported, this is a non issue. He probably did try talking to her but they wanted a settlement, so he just ignored her. Of course that's just my guess. She won't win the suit. state Board won't do anything. Doc didn't do anything wrong.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jaxmanjoe

    Can you say 'frivolous lawsuit'? The should brand people who file them with a big FL on their foreheads.Also on the lawyers who convince them to file.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
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