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. Mohammad

    Perhaps he collects women's uterus', (who knows why he does this?) and makes sure he gets them organized by branding them. Only in America. They don't have this problem in the tribal regions of Northwest Waziristan.

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


    September 15, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. djhighnote

    ummm...was she planning on having it stuffed and put on display in her china cabinet? I fail to see the issue with the doctor writing her name on a uterus she is no longer using.... it's not like he put it on youtube... seriously? People just want to be offended about everything and sue for a fast buck. Ridiculous.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bob Jenkins

    OMG... like, now she can't hang her uterus above her fireplace mantle...

    September 15, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Pete

    A very misleading story

    September 15, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. Erin

    Seriously? What's the big deal? Try as a might, I really can't see what the problem here is. And what exactly is the lawsuit over?

    The doctor should just get a decent lawyer and deal with it because he'll totally win. And then he should counter-sue for all the time and money wasted over such ridiculousness.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Chris Johnston

    Let me get this straight, the doctor removed this woman’s uterus and after the organ was removed he branded it with her name. Now she is suing the doctor for branding her ex-uterus?? That sounds like a frivolous lawsuit to me. Who cares what the doctor did with a piece of flash that does not belong to my body any longer? Is not like she would keep it right? Also the burns on the leg, how would that have happened if he branded the uterus after removing it? On don’t see in this article any mention that he branded her uterus while still attached to her body!

    September 15, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Liberty Queen

    Yeah, especially if the doctor takes the time to cut off your penis before burning your name into your severed 'member'. At that point, no big deal... it's just dead meat, right? ROFL

    September 15, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • sj

      Is there any evidence the uterus should not have been removed? If not, then your question is irrelevant.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Christie

    Wait why is this news? Seems to me he was just labeling a specimen but like others have mentioned - there must be more to the story. It can't be this simple right? I'll have to disagree with others. The sooner a specimen is labeled, the better and less likely there will be mixups. NOW if he genuinely injured her while labeling the specimen, then I can see where there is an issue. Honestly, sounds to me like someone is upset over losing her uterus which is sad but there has to be more to this story - or this couple is really dumb.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. Capt. NoDuh

    Seriously, What is the big deal? Her uterus was bound for the trash. This looks more like an opportunistic underhanded attempt to get "free money".

    September 15, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Marilyn - a nurse in Harrisburg

    Anything removed in surgery is sent to patholgy for examination for disease. When pathologists are done with it, making tissue slides, microscopy, and creating a written report of the findings – and the pathologist decides when the tissue can be discarded – only then is it medical waste. If the "branding" caused a problem with diagnosing a tissue area, that could be a problem. A lawyer will have one or more experts examine the facts of the issue and inform the patient if she has a legitimate case. There is a lot we don't know, including how severe the burn is – in fact, all we know is what a very limited article tells us.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. kj

    I think the question here is would you allow this freak to operate on you or a loved one? no? ok, then why let him continue to do so on the unsuspecting public? Should the woman get $? not a lot, but maybe a little...

    September 15, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • bluefalcon32

      Ridiculous. The woman went in for a hysterectomy. She got a hysterectomy. It's standard practice to label medical specimens. Labelling with a Bovie isn't standard practice, but it doesn't seem like an unreasonable thing to do. Hope this woman and her husband not only get nothing for the "branding" but are forced to pay the doctor's legal bills.

      The burn on her leg, on the other hand, is a different story. The burn was probably caused by the grounding pad of the electrocautery device. I'm not sure how often this happens, but it does happen. And if the burn is found to be the result of negligence, than the patient should be compensated for that.

      September 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. crak

    If he wrote the name on the uterus and its inside of her..who cares if its labeled if no one sees it.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  14. Josan

    Well said Byteskat. People you need to click on the link in the article to go to the other article for a more detailed story. You will find out that the uterus wasn't labeled until after it was removed. The doctor even provided pictures showing him labeling the uterus, which the complaintants refuse to release to "The Smoking Gun." Her husband has even jumped on the bandwagon "charges the doctor with battery and contends that Joe Paulicivic has been “permanently injured and damaged” due to the resulting loss of consortium with his wife." Also someone earlier said their were x-rays, making an assumption that all images are x-rays, these were digital images taken with a digital camera. If she was burned while he labeled the uterus, this should show up in the photos that were taken during the labeling procedure. The uterus is medical waste, so the labeling should not be a problem. I think it is misleading to call this branding, which implies ownership of something, he clearly did not use his name. Can you spell frivolous?

    September 15, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Byteskat

      My wife is a surgical RN. I pay attention to what she says 🙂

      September 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Craig

    Meh. You gotta brand something.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
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