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. LM2

    This is so stupid! I find the sentence when they saw it they were "as anyone would be" shocked. REALLY! I wouldn't care. As a matter of fact, I would feel better about it since it would be identified as mine for any pathology reports. Ridiculous lawsuits like these are what should drive healthcare reform.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. SSG S

    He won't lose anything over this. The burns on the leg are most likely cause by the grounding pad that must be attached to the patient, this happens more often than not. The gel on these things tend to dry up slightly before the expiration date and sometimes you can't tell until something like this happens. The equipment will be scrutinzed more than him along with the Maintenance Technincian and/or company that supports his equipment. He won't be found negligent of anything.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. onkpgly

    The fact that the doctor was hesitant to give the couple copies of the operation photos suggests that the doctor knew that he broke standard procedures.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cynthia

    He didn't hurt her, but come on- what is wrong with people?! You don't go writing on a persons organs during surgery!! I'm not a doctor but I have more sense than that!

    September 15, 2010 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. admiral 149

    Who should care? A waste of time for the courts and everyone else.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. standaman

    This is good for the economy. Now millions will be floating around the judicial system, a lawyer will need to be hired and a news reporter at cnn has something to write about. Round and round we go. The stupidity never ends.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. DB5987

    Also, to anyone who thinks this weirdo needs to rot in jail, you seriously need to get your priorities straight. You people are the reason we have prisons filled with people who did nothing more than take a lighter to a plant.
    Unless you are doing something that is causing a real, definable harm to something or someone, you do not need to be in jail, and practicing your calligraphy on someones old uterus is not exactly a genuine harm for someone. Burning the legs? maybe, but the article is rather scant on details there, now isn't it. Who'd have thought CNN would leave out whats actually important for the sake of sensationalizing an article?

    September 15, 2010 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dustin

    Wow. It's not like the guy made a party hat out of her uterus. Did he do the wrong thing? Sure. Does this woman deserve money for it? Hell no.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. Patricia A Lewis

    Am I the only one having a lot of trouble with this story. Everything just conveniently fell inot place, something is just not right here.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. Patriot1942

    Prime example of how "sue" happy we've become. All this couple is in this for is the money they think can be gained from the suit, how utterly ridiculous. She had no more use for an extracted uterus than I do. What was she going to do have it mounted and hung on the wall? This country is "going to hell in a handbasket", because of such stupidity..........

    September 15, 2010 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  11. Hope

    Aaaah yes, another lawsuit happy American. Give me a break already!!!

    September 15, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. MarineMom682

    What is the big deal – it's medical waste – this is such a non-issue!! The Paulicivics should be thrilled he "tagged" her uterus – at least she'll know the path reports are actually hers since it was labeled. IF she has an issue it should be with the burns on her legs – I've had a complete hysterectomy and suffered no burns anywhere so that's the only legitimate concern she has.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. JasonB

    To sue someone you have to prove you suffered damages. There were no damages here. She cannot use that uterus once it is removed from her body and the paperwork you sign before an operation give doctors the right to dispose of your cells and tissues in any way that they see fit. Just ask Henrietta Lacks.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      Exactly. She's not legally damaged. Furthermore, he branded tissue that would be destroyed or otherwise used, but not to be re-used by her. Hopefully, he countersues her and wins.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Thenextstep

    So the uterace looks like a lot of other organs,.... huh ????? Sheesh..........

    September 15, 2010 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. LM

    Surg. Tech's know that cautery devices are always supposed to be placed away from the patient's body when not in use to avoid burns like this. There is a holster that comes with ESU's for this reason.The ST is who is ultimately at fault for the burns on the leg.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
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