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

    How is plaintiff going to show damages?

    September 14, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marco Attorney

      ..except for leg burn.

      September 14, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dr. Veronica

    Lawyers always figure out how to make an issue out of nothing. Why is there any money being spent on something that has hurt no one?

    September 14, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      How much should she get if her leg is burned?

      September 14, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. valkis

    OK why would I give a crap if a doctor branded any word on a body part he removed from me? She is just trying to get some money.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Daws

    Slow news day? How about more indepth coverage of real news rather than making it up?

    September 14, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DP

    That's trunk urine stash weird, but no harm done.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. salvice

    that doctor is a creep

    September 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fireblood

      Wow, a well-thought-out, brilliant, definitive answer. We can all wrap it up and go home now.

      September 15, 2010 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Kelaric

    To lawyers are very very bad,

    Please read your own post "...They(the patient) should have to pay every sent of the legal cost to defend the case if they loose. " and then please go back to school and at least learn how to spell. If you can't spell, how can anyone trust you learned proper medicine?

    September 14, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Just another commentor

    Frankly, if I found out that my Dr. labeled my womb prior to removal (or after) I'd laugh out loud and probably teas him about it. What's a monogrammed uterus worth if it's broken? When a good friend had her breasts removed (Cancer) the nurse circled them both with a Sharpie, put frowny faces on them and wrote BAD.

    If it's that buggy to you just don't' go back to the guy *roll eyes* Honestly some people.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Robert

    It can be argued in the court that, the physician had the skill and opportunity to commit, and since no other reasonable explanation exists (short of divine intervention), a jury will most certainly convict based on that assumption. As for the physician, at this point it might be a good idea for him to learn how to succeed in the used car business.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    If you're going to get busted for graffiti on a patient's ex-body parts, you would hope it would be for something good: "Kilroy was here" This guy should be sued for being unimaginative.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jeff

    I think "who cares it was removed and trash anyway" is a bit much ... a woman might well feel a connection to her uterus long after it's gone. But I'm sick of the opportunism involved in suing. This case is better sent to the AMA and medical authorities to investigate and correct / discipline. No costly lawyers, no drama, just fair resolution by those that understand the ethics best. There's more here that needs to be determined: was she under anesthetic longer than she would have been had the cauterization not occurred? That's important.

    He's probably sick ... needs help ... needs to be kept away from patients until he's deemed safe and appropriate ... and we all need to move on and stop worrying about what is comparatively trivial in a time of war, joblessness, poverty, ineffective schools, etc. Let's focus on those rather than some weird caligrapher and his organ du jour. Starting with me ... I had no business taking the time to post this!

    September 14, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Penny

    One more thought...since cautery tools destroy tissue, this doctor may have destroyed lesions or evidence of disease on the surface of the uterus. Did he take tissue samples before or after he burned the organ? For that matter, at what point during the operation did he do his artwork? Had the patient's bleeding been stopped first? Was she still under anesthesia? I'm not a doctor but I review operative reports and this is not normal procedure. This case generates more questions than answers and needs to be looked into. We just don't know the whole story.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. firsttimer

    @ Lawyersareveryverybad, you say you are an ER physician, yet you misspell 'cent'. Obviously this physician has some very serious mental defeciency and I would bet he found pleasure in what he did. That is where I take concern with his actions. He seems like a wack job!

    September 14, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fireblood

      You misspelled "deficiency".

      September 15, 2010 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jen DC

    I hope she's not suing for the "tattooing" of the removed uterus but instead because of the burns she received. An earlier poster had it correct: If the burns were caused by the doctor's improper use of the cautery tools, then she has a case. Otherwise – particularly if it's just about the now-destroyed medical waste that was once her uterus – this seems a bit ridiculous.

    @ ER Physician "lawyers are very very bad" – unfortunately, much of the problem with awards lies with the JURY (you know, the people who actually decide the award?) and not with the attorney, unless it's the losing attorney, in which case s/he should've put forth better/winning arguments.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. douglas

    This woman is concerned about a silly thing, and should not be wasting the courts time. It's an organ that is going to end up in some sort of incinerator. Does she think that the doctor shared the pics with friends and staff to make fun of it? Weak. And the argument "well she feels victimized and that is all that matters" is BS. There has to be a threshold in society in which normal people can say "enough, give it a rest". Otherwise we'll all have to cater to Dolphin-Lawyers like the one in Southpark, who demands his own bathroom.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
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