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. YourPantiesInnaWad

    The woman is obviousy Dialing For Dollars.

    September 14, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • brie21

      so u agree with the doctor

      September 14, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • YourPantiesInnaWad

      Yes, I am defending the doctor.

      September 14, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      So you think that she's dialing for dollars because her leg got burned because he was writing on her uterus?

      September 14, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Elle

    Who cares? People sue for the stupidest things. It's one of the biggest problems with our medical system. And I seriously doubt he burned her during surgery. She probably burned herself smoking, if they're even burns. Get a life.

    I had my appendix out this year. I dont care if the surgeon wrote his name on it, ate it, or gave it to his dog.

    September 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      The burns to HER LEG took place in surgery when he wrote on the uterus.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Penny

    Y'know, this doctor showed very bad judgement in branding the uterus. It may ultimately be legal, but would YOU want someone who makes wacky decisions operating on you? It may have been harmless, but it was also disrespectful. He violated his patient's trust. Who knows what else goes on that doesn't get caught on camera?

    September 14, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      Agreed. Medical devices like a cauterizing blade aren't toys.

      September 14, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Carol

    I had a hysterectomy years ago and I never once thought of having pictures of any part of it. Why would anyone need them? The Dr. probably after removing the uterus wrote an ID on it so no one elses could be mixed up with hers. It is probably tested for any sign of disease before being discarded. This would be an advantage for Ingrid, I would think. Cautery is probably used to seal off bleeding, and perhaps that is where the slight burn came from.

    September 14, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. brie21

    the doctor is really stupid i would sue him myself cuz im so mad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉

    September 14, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. brie21


    September 14, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mikey

    This N That – I think you're making a pretty strong assumption that he branded her uterus before removing it, as the article doesn't ever even allude to it happening that way. I'd imagine that inch-tall letters (as reported) would be pretty hard to inscribe onto a uterus while still inside her.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      He wrote on the uterus after he took it out, that's when her leg was burned.

      September 14, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • anti-frivolous

      This N That – the burns on her leg have no connection nor relevance to cauterizing her name on the uterus. This is not to say that the burns might have been related to some other form of negligence. Cautery is used in most surgeries especially hysterectomy. Cautery could result in a burn if the patient were improperly grounded or if the cautery device was faulty. The simple fact is that suing a physician for cauterizing her name on a uterus specimen is a frivolous litigation and should be easily defeated. The sad fact is that despite the high liklihood of defeating such a frivolous litigation, it will probably be settled by the defendants insurance company just to avoid the cost of litigation – in other words the cost of a successful defense would most likely significantly exceed the cost of a settlement. In contrast, the case would've never been accepted by a sane attorney in a loser pays system.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Annette

    Ingrid get a grip. It's a removed organ. You don't need it any more do you? Or were you planning on displaying it on your dining room table in a lovely vase from the Home Shopping Channel? I personally wouldn't care if the doctor made a hand puppet out of mine once it's been removed and I don't need it any more. Seems like all this ridiculous outrage is purely concocted to further a potential monetary settlement. There are all types of reasons he may have needed to ID your organ vs. another woman's. If he needed to submit a sample later in the day for further testing or something about your organ seemed unusual and he had several hysterectomies lined up in a row he might have marked yours so he would test the correct one. Heck, even if he is just weird or was having fun with the newest toy in the OR, it still is just medical waste and certainly not lawsuit worthy.

    Work for your money like decent people and stop trying to win a lawsuit lotto. Heck for all we know, your photographer husband could have Photoshopped those letters onto the photos. I know I could do it in two minutes flat and I would challenge anyone who isn't a digital image expert to say it was fake. The very fact that you really wanted the photos in the first place pretty much says it all that you were looking for something to base a lawsuit on in the first place. Of course the doctor didn't want to give you the photos, because it was probably pretty obvious that you were looking to make trouble where there wasn't any.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RC

    Wow, who the hell cares what the doctor does with the organ. It's trash at that point. This lady's just looking for some easy money. Wish they'd put her picture up so we could point and laugh. Just another frivolous lawsuit. What a waste. There are actually important things to worry about, not this. This woman should be ashamed for wasting everyone's time.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mcdo4

    Ridiculous lawsuit. It is not a big deal. Get over it. It shouldn't be allowed in court.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fig1024

    ok so he shouldn't have done that, it's bad and he deserves a a slap on the wrist.
    But that won't stop there, not in America, there's going to be an expensive law suit, possibly in the millions. And it is because of STUPID cases like this that healthcare costs for EVERYONE will go up again another 10-15%.

    Why do we always have to pay for other people's stupidity?
    I don't want to pay another 100 dollars more for a simple procedure just to doc can cover his malpractice insurance.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • This N That

      Assuming he burned her legs when writing on the uterus. How much do you think she should get?

      September 14, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fig1024

      assuming he burned her leg, it should depend on amount of damage. I'm guessing it's something minor. She should definitely get free treatment and possibly up to 500 dollars. The important thing that the doctor is properly punished – but not in a way that ends his career. This isn't a serious case after all.

      September 14, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cmr

    I don't get it... I am a female – If someone removed my uterus – what the heck do I care about them using something to "engrave" my name on it. It is just this type of frivolous law suit garbage that has our healthcare expenses so darn high.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian

    Perhaps no physical injury, but still, some pretty creepy behavior from a guy who just removed your uterus.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. fireybuddha

    was this article difficult to follow and relatively senseless? he lasered her name into her discarded uterus? how did burns get on her leg, and what's the relevancy? wow. is journalism really getting this bad, or am i just enjoying my k2 a little too much?

    September 14, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeepers

    This is a frivolous lawsuit. It's stuff like this that increases malpractice insurance premiums which are pushing OBGYN's out of practice. Thanks, Ingrid...but some of us still have a uterus and would like to have a doctor to treat us. Idiot.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
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