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. LexJim

    I think the Doctor was misquoted when he said this was "not typical" when in actuality it is the norm. I would also presume that he placed another identifying mark on the uterus that was specific to him. This is done so that the laboratory to which the uterus is sent for analysis can specifically identify the doctor and he can identify the patient in the event the lab gets the uterus mixed up with others. And anyone who thinks this doesn't happen is, well, I'll let you fill in that blank.

    September 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nancy

    If he removed her uterus, what difference does it make? It's not in her anymore. At this point, its just a bunch of tissue.

    September 15, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Julie

    If it's not inside her it's really not that serious. If it was me I really doubt I'd care

    September 15, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ttyme

    Okay – I guess I am in agreement with most of you on here. I am scratching my head, left asking the question – now what are we suing for again??? Okay, you didn't get a satisfactory answer on your leg burn – but really don't see a reason to sue for that unless the harm caused great physical and medical distress and was caused by doing something that was beyond usual and customary for a partial hysterectomy. Good luck proving that! Now, as for the branding with a patient's name – ONE of the names that – of a discarded body part. Wait a minute – now what are we suing for again???? Lady please!

    September 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MyVoice

    Maybe, just maybe she felt a bit saddened by having her uterus removed & when she saw pictures showing that he non chalantly carved her name into it, perhaps it struck a chord with her and too the professionalism out of it for her? I'm not suggesting THIS is cause for legal action. As for the burn on her leg, that could be more the reason for the lawsuit? But of course, this isn't the focus, the focus is on that he wrote her name on her organ. Just a smidge tacky as a 'surgeon'.

    September 15, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alexis

    I can't believe this has gotten any sort of attention. The uterus is considered medical waste, and the doctor's explanation seems to fit. I feel bad for the guy getting his named dragged through the mud due to some money-seeking patient who was not harmed by his actions. I hope the case gets thrown out and the woman has to pay for costs of his lawyer.

    September 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    Serioulsy . The guy is odd but the greed of others is crazy

    September 15, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AJK

    There are no sustained damages thus no lawsuit. Too bad for the patient and the lawyer.

    September 15, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Allen

    It's unclear from the article whether the alleged branding occurred before or after the uterus was removed. If after, then it was medical waste, right? As others have said, the burns on the leg may be a cause of action, but if the uterus was branded after removal, I'm not sure how that would be.

    Also: loss of consortium? Really? I can only hope that this cause of action is based on the alleged leg burns, and not because her husband can't get the allegedly squicky image of the branded uterus out of his mind.

    September 15, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jerry Seinfeld

    No one has brought up the fact that he dotted the 'i's in 'Ingrid' with little hearts.

    Just sayin'.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nattle_N


      September 15, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rain

    He could have put it in a Clear plastic bag, and put her name on the label. It would have been faster. case closed.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nattle_N

    what were they gonna use a non-working uterus for anyway? what a stupid lawsuit. what stupid people, waste of court time and bogus charges against the dr.
    who cares?

    September 15, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. HERS

    Consider this. There are 620,000 hysterectomies performed in the USA every year. 75% of women are castrated (their gonads, the ovaries are removed) during hysterectomy. Another woman's uterus is removed every minute of every hour of every day. There are 22 million living women in the USA whose female organs have been removed. Only 2% of hysterectomies are performed for confirmed cancer.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nattle_N

    The American way....always lookin for a way to scam money outta someone.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HERS

    Penectomy, amputation of the penis, is rare. About 1,530 men are diagnosed with cancer of the penis every year. Every conservative treatment is tried before amputation of the penis is recommended. Even then, partial removal of the penis, rather than amputation of the entire penis, is performed whenever possible.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
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