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. Demo Joseph

    Don't you people know what self respect is? and the respect of others? He is a nut! and she should sue his a... for millions

    September 15, 2010 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Name2

      Why should she get millions? Why should someone who wasn't significantly hurt for the rest of their life get millions??? Who cares if these stupid lawsuits destroy our medical system because insurance rates become so high that no one becomes a doctor anymore, right? What she should be asking for is an apology, maybe an explanation, but to sue?? Waaahhhh, someone had a lapse in judgment that hurts my feelings, so I deserve MILLIONS!!
      I am sure she has recovered physically just fine, and she's now upset because she felt lied to, but that's not a lawsuit.
      People like you are who should be sued for millions.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. KCV

    At first I thought, it doesn't matter, it's not in her anymore. However, if the uterus was still inside while he did the branding, then that's negligence. I would be mad if my doctor did anything other than what the surgery required while I was still open on the operation table.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • OhioPaul

      Hey KVC, hope they don't find anything else wrong with you while they take your appendix out...If the surgeon sees possible cancerous tissue, he should just close you back up...not part of the procedure, right? Grow up people...if he did an excellent job removing the uterus of this woman and the 'branding' was on tissue that was removed and disposed of, then get over it!!!!!!!!!

      September 15, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike Antard

    I honestly don't see what the uterus has to do with the case. It's odd, but as I understand it the uterus was removed. This means it is no longer her uterus. There was a case where a man had a spleen removed because it was cancerous, and doctors took it to do cancer research. From this cancerous spleen was born a new cell line that provided a breakthrough in cancer research, one that became very profitable for the doctors involved. The man sued for his fair share. Didn't recover. Once its out...not yours anymore. How did it harm her? No recovery. Case dismissed.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Roger Clemen[cy]

    I couldn't pass up the chance to be the 526th commenter on this article.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. Michelle

    Why would anyone care if their uterus was branded? It has no effect on your health and no one can even see it. Wouldn't you rather your branded uterus than someone else's uterus? At least she got her uterus back. This is just an attemtp to get money and a complete waste of legal system time.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Lynn Wags

      She didn't get her uterus back it was removed and once removed cannot be put back. It was medical waste.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • OhioPaul

      Whaaaaaat? Michelle do you even know what an uterus is or what is done after a medical procedure? You're happy she got the right one back? Please don't talk to any lawyers, please. You're a lawsuit waiting to happen.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Say WHAT?

    How disgusting.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. JC

    Groundless lawsuit, he labelled a piece of medical waste so it did not get mixed up with other medical waste, maybe it was having a biopsy performed on it later or maybe not not. Point being after it had been removed from her it could have been dropped into a blender its trash, no different than sweeping up hair after a hair cut or trimming fingernails. They were fishing for a lawsuit and they "think" they have one. They don't and this is a reason that medical cost and malpratise insurance rates contiue to increase.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. David Sumner

    I have no doubt that between legal fees, court fees, and settlements that hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions) of dollars will change hands behind this admittedly stupid, but otherwise harmless act. Everyone should consider that when they're standing around wondering how healthcare got to be so expensive in this country.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. homer

    If they were upset by her name on the uterus, they would have been traumatized by what the pathologist was going to do to it next....standard procedure- chop it up- look at samples under the microscope- then chuck it in the medical waste bin with other peoples left over parts. No ceremony- standard practice. This story is a waste of space.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. bama

    My question – did the doctor do this before he removed it or after.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Lynn Wags

    There are 2 issues here; the first being the burns on the patient's legs. Was/Is that a normal occurence during this type of surgery? Have other patients (not this doctor's) complained of the same type of burns post surgery? If so then it's probably a non-issue just a risk of that type of surgery. Secondly, I'm not sure why this couple is so upset to bring a lawsuit about this doctor identifying the body part to this patient. Was it a little indulgent probably but it certainly didn't cause anyone any physical or psychological pain. Next time put it in a pre-labeled bag!! I hope this doesn't even make it to the courts unless there is a lot more to it than posted here.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. kite005

    The burns to the leg might be an issue but that doesn't seem to be the concern here. I guess I don't understand the concern over the uterus unless there's more to it than what's stated here. Is it another case of people just after money any way they can get it?

    September 15, 2010 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. lostinny

    I just don't see where this should upset her. The tissue was no longer attached, so it is not a part of her body. Big Hairy Deal. Get a life and find something real to be offended about.

    September 15, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. Gain of Salt

    This is a clear attempt at a money grab. No wonder why health care is so expensive, and many towns and counties do not have a gyno available to treat wome. Just too darn risky and expensive for the doc. We are strangling our health care system.

    September 15, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. Krystal

    I'm sure there were others in the operating room with the doctor.... nurses, surgical techs, anesthesiologists.... didn't anyone else see what happened??

    September 15, 2010 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
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