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. Doug Funny - Chattanooga, TN

    Sounds like a ploy to get something out of that medical malpractice insurance. What a joke.

    September 14, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rodney

    So when they put a tag on your toe cause your dead, you gonna sue for that as well. This is so stupid. Atleast you know there will be no mix ups on this. Who cares if it has her name on it. It no longer belongs to her.

    September 14, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LabGirl

    1. Any tissue removed from the body ends up in pathology. Read the fine print on your admission papers. Once it is examined by the naked eye by a pathologist ("gross pathology"), representative specimens are set up for microscopic examination. The remainder is destroyed.
    2. It's not unusual for photos to be taken of the surgical procedure, especially if there was something unusual about the case, or if the Dr is in a teaching position. Nothing says it was a close up of the uterus, sounded more like the uterus was off to the side, but visible in the pictures.
    3. Organs are often marked by cautery as to "landmarks" for pathology examinantion. Writing a name is odd, but not criminal.

    September 14, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      Who owns the uterus after it is removed from her body? If ownership is transferred, when does that take place? Aren't the slides/sections the property of the patient?

      September 14, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ruben E Rivera Jr

    Anyone who sees no harm or no foul is either a stupid male who doesn't understand a woman's body or a moron who ate paint chips as a kid.HE BURNED HER LEG!Which lead her to go back to the doctors!She didn't ask for this,and the creepy Doctor didn't have the right to touch her this way. I bet if this was your sister or your mother you'd feel a whole lot different.He burned her leg while he was performing an inappropriate procedure.He was acting like a clown!He should loose his license!God knows what else he did to other patients!If you had a love one die,and you found out the mortician danced with your loved ones body or tagged his name with a marker or branded them with an iron on their butt,would you say who cares their dead anyway!?!

    September 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • loreebeeeeeeeeber

      No, she went to the doctor for a scheduled follow up visit, at which time she asked about the burn on her leg. It clearly was not much of a big deal to her immediately after the surgery. Ruben, you act as if this woman was permanently marked, branded or tattooed. She wasn't.

      And if a mortician danced with a dead relative, I suppose I'd think he was one lonely man.

      September 14, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      I'm neither male, nor did I eat paint chips as a kid. The article does not explicitly state that he burned her leg WHILE branding the medical waste (which is exactly what it was at that point, as he was not putting her uterus back into her body)

      Its just as likely that he was doing necessary cauterizing and burnt her that way. She *may* have a case for her leg being burned but most likely there is some fine print somewhere that will say otherwise anyway. If he did the branding after the fact and in doing so did not harm her or keep her knocked out longer then needed, then she does not have a case with the branding. If it was my sister or my mother or myself, we'd have a good laugh about and move on with our lives – my family is neither insane nor sue-happy. In fact, if it was me I'd probably put the picture up on facebook and say "Hey! Check out my new tattoo!"

      September 14, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • momtopugs

      I had an emergency hysterectomy a few years when my son was only 1 and was trying to conceive another child. I understand the feelings of loss and almost depression a women goes through, personal, after this kind of procedure. That said, it's ridiculous that she is suing over a body part that no longer is part of her. She needs to go back to her doctor and ask for script for wellbutrin or some other antidepressant and chill. These kind of frivolous lawsuits is one of the reason the USA is a joke to so many other countries.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Medstudent

    More than likely the doctor was taking pictures of the uterus so that he could show how the procedure is done to OBGYN residents. He probably has many such pictures and doesnt want to them to get mixed up with other cases. So long as he blots out the name and any other identifiable marks when he makes his presentations there is no problem here. For his own files her name is the best and easiest way to keep tabs so long as noone else sees it who is not directly involved with her care. I think he out to countersue her for lost time, money, and damage to reputation.

    September 14, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      Your lack of sensitivity does not bode well for your being a doctor. Check out Alinsod's web site, look at the photos. The negligence here was that he did something unnecessary which burned her leg.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yay Docs.

      Actually, this is a very sensible response to why he did it. Unfortunately his "we were friends" bit seems a little bit off.

      September 14, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yay Docs.

      Actually, based on the pictures on the website, medstudent's comments make even more sense- that he would label it for his own personal reference.

      September 14, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kgoddess

    What a total lowlife. She didn't ask for this, didn't give permission for this, he violated her.

    September 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • This is Why Medical Insurance is So High

      I agree she is a doctor for trying to sue this doctor. Would she have preferred he threw it in a container of miscellaneous unidentified uteruses so that any future analysis of tissue tissue on a uterus known to be hers was not possible?

      September 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      Violated her? He didn't go to down and label the organs still in her body. She scheduled a procedure to have her uterus REMOVED. He marked something that was being thrown away.

      September 14, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mike

    Add this insane story to the list of reasons for me wanting to be abducted by extra-terrestrials. I want off this planet, to get away from all you sick weird crazy people.

    September 14, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    I don't understand what is the damage that the doctor's behavior caused. Why is she bothered by this? It's a removed organ that's going to pathology and/or the trash, so why does it matter?

    September 14, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jay

    No harm, no foul! Lesson learned: "Don't do that again!" Simple as that! Right?! No, not in today's society! We would rather raise the costs of EVERYBODY'S health care than to simply file this as a 'lesson learned.' Do you all realize how much we would be paying on health care if it weren't for entertaining lawsuits like this one? Pretty much affordable to all! It's easy to get there but, no, we'll just keep letting things like this go to court and continue to blame Congress and the President for the lack of health care. I know someone out there is going to bring up the old, "who will 'police' the police!" Believe me, doctors have been 'policed' enough! It's time to stop entertaining these types of suits.

    September 14, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      Burning her leg is "no harm, no foul" ? On what planet?

      September 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alex

    So she is upset that somebody branding something that have no significant meaning. HHHHHMMMMMMMMM

    September 14, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mikey

    While it may have been crude and obviously uncalled for, this seems to be an obvious play to make money. 'How dare you inscribe my name on something cut out of me that neither I nor anyone I know will ever see again?' I believe they saw his discomfort in handling the pictures, realized it as an opportunity, and decided to contibute to our state's (CA) notoriety for bieng unbelievably letigious. beware of the Paulicivics, businesses of California!

    September 14, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex


      September 14, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      Mikey, he BURNED her. Are you ok with a doctor burning you?

      September 14, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Alicia

    Why she was having the operation is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is, this "doctor" acted unethically, and when approached by his patient, was obviously worried of the repercussions should his cauterizing act come to light. When one enters a contract with a physician to perform a medical act, the doctor is to perform that procedure and that procedure only. Even though removed body parts are deemed medical waste, that does not change the fact that to the person it was removed from, the removed part was and still is part of who they are. If you had a gangrenous appendage removed, would you appreciate the attending physician playing baseball with it? Probably not.

    September 14, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. stix213

    I don't understand the problem here. If I got my appendix removed I wouldn't sue the doctor if the now discarded organ had my name engraved on it. Maybe I would request a different doctor next time, but I think this is more about the $$$ than anything

    September 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim D.

      Some think more highly of a uterus than an appendix.

      September 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mikey

    This N That – 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."

    It was not branded or marked with the cauterizer while still inside of her... If I'm mistaken, please forgive me, because if he branded the uterus while still inside of her, that would be reprehensible, monstrous, and downright SICK. From my understanding of the article though, it was already removed and at that point mecomes medical waste, a la fat removed during liposuction.

    September 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      The burn damage was on her leg. It was his reckless branding of the uterus that caused her leg to be burned. That is why there is a lawsuit.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Help

    Hey guys, will you visit SaveStan.ORG a friend of mine with 4 young babies is fighting for his life…… thanks.

    September 14, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • YourPantiesInnaWad

      NO, and you should quit posting your Spam messages all over the internet. Does everyone agree with me?

      September 14, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
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