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. Geo In TO

    I don't get it ... he removed her uterus, because it was either diseased or dysfunctional. I bet she'd sue him if he branded a malignant tumor before removing it, too.
    Americans ... only ones on the planet who know how to milk a toe nail for millions.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SassySue

    Um, why does this matter? It was medical waste. That's garbage lady. You weren't going to use it anymore. That's like getting upset that your poop got flushed down the toilet.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cam

    This suit is a bunch of crap. She wasn't taking the body part home anyway. Usually the hospital will dispose of the remains. Just an other excuse to sue deep pockets.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brian

    Ummm..he probably marked it so that the pathologist can tell which way is right and which is left, or up and down. Kind of hard to do in disembodied internal organs,but important to know which side the cancer is on if there were one.

    This is non-news.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. taxpayinghorse

    That story is nothing. I have spent a lot of time at the hospital, this is part of my job. The stories the nurses have told me would sicken the hell out of you. These doctors kill, maim people every day. The staff know it but if they tell on the doctor they dont have a job. They keep their mouth shut. The details they have told me about I don't dare put on here because someone would probably recognize the details. WHY DO YOU THINK THEY DON'T ALLOW FAMILY MEMBERS OR RECORD SURGERIES ON CAMERA?

    September 14, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    Honestly. I never reply to stories and really only read the comments for a laugh. But it never ceases to amaze me how people with no clue what they are talking about can voice their asinine opinions on everything.

    Just some absolutely ridiculous comments here.

    This Dr. doesn't have a uterus collection or some strange uterus fetish.

    I know exactly why he branded it. He essentially said it himself. "So it doesn't get mixed up"

    Any organ that is removed from the body, such as a uterus, is sent off to a pathologist to be tested for any further problems that may not have been previously known. For instance they could pick up that a patient had an early cancer that was not detectable previously. But once a core of this discarded uterus could be taken, it might then be seen under a microscope.

    One risk you have of course, it that the organ could become mislabeled or mixed up with another patient at some point once it has left the OR. But by "branding her name on it immediately after it was removed... you lessen the chance of Mary getting Ingrids bad news, and vice versa.

    This Dr was TRYING to be extra diligent to avoid medical errors, and this is the thanks he gets.


    September 14, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      So what do you know that everyone else doesn't?

      September 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Steve The Goat

    I have no pants.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    If I needed a major operation, and walked away from it with minimal complications, I like to think I would thank my doctor not sue them.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Judy

    This guy is my Dr and I know he is very professional and thorough. He was probably going to send the uterus or at least cells for biopsy. He is very friendly, kind, and treats all his patients as if they are his friends. He teaches these procedures to students from all over. This couple is mistaking his kindness for weakness and are the reason we don't have good Doctor's any more only technicians. No one wants to go out on the limb for any one any more because people like this take something that sounds unorthodox and run to the courts. That's why Dr House will stay a work of fiction.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. muffdiver

    It's medical waste and treated as such, to be picked up by medical waste recyclers!!! It will never be a part of the muffin for both or many parties to enjoy!!! And, can't be used for fertilizer like cr@p!!!! Send it to obama as a trophy for his great presidency and leadership!!!

    September 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    More opportunists looking to make a buck. Is it really your organ once it's removed? Like being offended the hairdresser is stepping on your hair once it's lying on the floor.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    And we wonder why medical costs are so expensive. It is due to this type of lawsuit that will probably give the lady a 10 million dollar judgment for an organ that was going in the trash. What a sham.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    But nobody questions the destruction of babies in the first trimester?! We are so screwed up.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Great point Jim. There is definitely something wrong with humanity.

      September 14, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fireblood

      Stupid point Jim. It has nothing to do with the topic.

      September 15, 2010 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sam

    This article is insanely unclear....

    Did he take the uterus OUT of her body? And then did he lay the uterus alongside OTHER uterus's or organs that would require him to label it? If so, I completely understand his position.

    Did he keep the uterus IN her body and label it to keep it from getting confused with other organs inside her body? If so, I don't blame him.

    Anyway, I could care less about the woman or the doc...the article couldn't provide less important details than it did. People get paid for this stuff?

    September 14, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mat

    Filing a complaint on the doctor? No problem. It sounds like he's not very professional, and others should be aware of this. But them suing is one of the reasons that our medical care costs so much. Shame on them for being a part of the problem and trying to cash in.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
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