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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soundoff (825 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Tissue was removed and sent for,not in an OR but in an office setting.Labeling of specimen is critical,as long as labeling doesn't impede diagnositc analysis, what is the harm?
    Not returning the phone call was probable the mistake.Explaining to the patient what you did and why may have diffused the situation.The burn on the leg,if caused by a cautery device, would have to have been on purpose,which is highly unlikely. As a surgeon, the notion that the tissue was Branded , seems ridiculous!!

    September 15, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Byteskat

    For all of you "brain surgeons" out there, first try reading and comprehending the article before you comment. The uterus had been removed, and there weren't any xrays taken revealing her name. She wasn't walking around with a "branded" uterus. The procedure is called a hysterectomy, and an electrocautery device is routinely used to perform it.

    Unless the surgeon removed the uterus, placed it on her leg, slipped why inscribing her name (sure, plausible for your average conspiracy theorist), another more plausible explanation must be found. Electrocautery devices require the use of a grounding pad placed on a large muscle mass near the operative area. For a hysterectomy, the upper thigh would be optimal. While not common, electrical burns can occur during the operation, and should be noted on the Nursing Operative Record.

    There seems to be a lot of missing information in this article (doubtless released by the plaintiffs) to make any informed judgment on this case. As for those of you suggesting the doctor has some form of mental disorder or fetish, you would have a valid argument if he inscribed his own name, or some frivolous comment. Given the facts reported, this sounds more like ambulance chasing to me.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Xoebe

    There is not enough information in this article to draw conclusions about the doctor's behavior or the merits of a lawsuit.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lauren

    Last paragraph....practices at two air force bases...good luck suing the government. You can if you are a dependent, but it is a long and hard process.. If you are active duty, forget it, you sign a waiver that states you wave your right to sue.
    To me the article was written poorly. I actually don't find it so odd that there was some form of ID on the medical waste. Being one that works within a lab of a hospital, I have seen all sorts of things come into the lab for pathology. Usually, once something is removed it is put into a solution and container and sent off, esp if disease is suspect.
    As for the burns and the pictures, if it is true that the dr was shying away from giving the info, then that would raise concern to me. Just how deep are the burns? This news report is lacking any real information and leans towards one side.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Randy Treadway

    If the reporter uses the flimsy excuse 'well we just reported what was on it's THEIR story".... don't buy it. It says right in the article that made follow-up phone calls to the doctor, going BEYOND what smokinggun reported.
    So cnn had every opportunity to make sure some journalistic integrity got put back into this story before publishing. They chose not to do so and published it anyway, probably just for shock value. Totally irresponsible. The doctor should sue CNN!

    September 15, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • fdsa

      I agree! Sad & irresponsible reporting. One sided story missing info. And then the big head shot of the doc and it hasn't even been proven one way or the other? Nice way to ruin a person's life w/o warrant or proof. I wouldn't be a doctor for all the money in the world.

      September 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bibbie

    Last week I had a benign tumor removed from my breast... had it not been benign the doctor would have to do a full mastectomy... I would not have cared what he wrote on my breast...
    So blessed not to live in the USA where it seems like people live on the chance to have something done so they can sue... Ingrid you should be ashamed of yourself....

    September 15, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bob U

    Big deal. This is just another opportunistic, gold-digger from behind the Orange Curtain.

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

    This whole episode is absolutely absurd. The couple claim that their "intimacy" has diminsihed? Give me a break, that is total crap. How in the world would that have any effect on intimacy? Organs removed during surgery go to the pathology department for examinatioin, afterwards they are distroyed (usually by incineration) Will this couple also suffer from emotional trauma because the pathologist cut the uterus in pieces and froze parts of it to examine the tissue under a microscope? This whold story could go on and on with its ridiculousness.
    Some people do mourn the loss of organs, particulary a women losing her uterus, but this is going way overboard and seems to me nothing but a money making venture on their part.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      Right? Maybe their "intimacy" has diminished because, oh I don't know, she had her uterus removed?

      September 15, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Byteskat

      OK, Erin, explain how that is the doctor's fault? If the uterus needed to come out, it needed to come out. Her disability/death would have a far deeper effect on their intimacy.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Marc L from NY

    I trying to understand this. The uterus was removed? Did the patient keep her removed uterus? The doctor says he is a good friend of the patient. The patient's lawyer says they do not know each other. I feel like there is way more to this story than is being told.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. mark

    The article states that the doctor tried to avoid giving the couple pictures taken *during the operation* because they showed the branding. This is not entirely clear, but if this means (and the pics prove) the branding was done while the uterus was still inside her, it's a huge deal and the doctor's career should be over. You don't run high current through a living person just to help keep your samples organized before sending them off to Path or whatever, that's insane.

    If it was done after the uterus was removed, it is irrelevant, and should be excluded from the malpractice case which should be decided on the evidence presented as far as the burn on her leg and however it got there.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. submaker

    money , money , money, money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 15, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. Steve Fortuna

    It's not as if he had her uterus stuffed and mounted on his fireplace. Not that I believe anything published by CNN, especially stories written so obliquely, but according to the article, the operation was performed at his office, NOT a hospital OR. How can that be??? If so, that was his biggest mistake. If he were in front of his peers and nurses in a hospital controlled operating room, I doubt he would have been so cavalier. I think the problem is allowing this type of surgery to be an in-office procedure.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Mohammad

      Steve, how do we know he doesn't have them stuffed and mounted around his home? Are you forgetting that this is America?

      September 15, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • fdsa

      hysterectomies are not out patient or office procedures silly. And the surgeon needs nurses and an anesthetist to perform it. No one, not even the badly written article, states that it was done in a casual office setting with no assistance. There are "offices" or medical establishments that have surgical suites however. Just a bad choice of words by the author to call it "an office" which can convey inaccuracies.

      September 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. monica

    Why would one want a picture of the uterus? to hang on the wall

    September 15, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. ttriple

    Actually, this is the perfect time to remind everyone about the new Post-it notes (that will stick to anything). They are cheaper and faster than old fashioned labeling methods, such as branding....

    September 15, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Lauren

      lol....sounds like a commercial there....hell if it can stick to that....Ill buy it!

      September 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Slumdog

    Hey "@lawyers are very very bad", you posted "i seriously hope you aren't actually a doctor if you can't tell the difference between "lose" and "loose". you really should not be calling others names if you can't form a coherent sentence." Take a look at your post from "September 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm" ... "sent" vs. "cent". Don't cast stones, Homey.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
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