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. zippit

    It's just a case of Uterus Envy if you asked me =/

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

    This is a violation of HIPAA. You cannot put a patient's name on an organ. It is far from frivolous or silly; however, the patient would have to be very well educated in HIPAA compliance or was looking to make a little money and found a lawyer who was. The average Joe wouldn't know this. The average Joe may or may not know anything more than HIPAA (commonly and ignorantly typed as HIPPA) protects privacy. The plaintiff does not have to show damages if there is a clear violation of HIPAA. As a professional in health information, I find it disturbing that everyone replying to this is making fun of the article because of ignorance on this topic. This tells me that very few people are taking enough accountability for their own healthcare rights that they even know the details of their right to privacy, but then again that is okay because thats why I make the big bucks....because the rest of you won't even take the time to know your own rights. This doctor can, and I would guess will, lose his lisence.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • This is Why Medical Insurance is So High

      Another reason why medical insurance is so high. Having managers of health information making "big bucks". I'm looking forward to the day when we can eliminate a lot of these middleman societal leaches who drive medical costs up...

      September 14, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      a first name only makes it identifiable? She's the only Ingrid ever?

      September 14, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gardenbie

      Where in HIPAA does it state that you can not label a pathological specimen? That's ridiculous: 1000s of specimens every day are labeled with the patients name. The how of the labeling is what's in question, not whether it violates HIPAA. The physician may have planned to use pictures at a later date for educational purposes. His surgical consent may have given permission for this. Cauterizing her name into the pathological specimen seems crass, but may have just been expediant.

      September 14, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim D.

      I totally agree with you! First of all, I'm not going to be a happy person if my uterus has to be removed, as no one just makes a choice to remove it because it's waste. If I found out that my doctor was carving it up in a frivolous manner, much like writing his name in the snow with his penis, I would sue too just from the humiliation.

      September 14, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • sj

      Not a HIPAA violation if done for a purpose fitting under "treatment, payment, or operations."

      September 15, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. dan

    at least he didnt sppoge in it

    September 14, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris M from Los Angeles

    Have to agree with the general consensus. It was a discarded organ. This is just an emotional plea for money. While not standard medical procedure, I am pretty sure the doctor caused no real harm. He may be guilty of being a social retard, but most doctors are anyway. Spend 12 years in school and residency and what comes out the other end is a damaged person.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicole24

      Hey! You are describing a small minority of my class...The majority of us normal

      September 14, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hugh Jarce

    So her uterus was actually removed right? It's not as if the word INGRID is still burned inside her.

    I understand why you would be offended, but it's not like she's going to mount it on her wall or anything.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Josh

    I'm totally confused. If the uterus was removed, what does it matter what he did with it? What would be the other option, throw it in the trash? Can she sue for his throwing it in the trash too?

    This makes no sense to me at all.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john

    NOw THATS FUNNY!!! No harm no foul...get a sense of humor!!!

    September 14, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim D.

      I don't think there is anything funny about a woman's uterus being removed, much like a man's testicles being removed. Now that's hilarious!

      September 14, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. zippit

    What if he wrote "Ingrid Rocks!" instead? Would she be upset still?

    September 14, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. This is Why Medical Insurance is So High

    You have these ungrateful patients who are just looking for a reason to sue.

    He removed her uterus to save her life. He labeled the medical waste with her name to allow for identification if for some reason it had to be analyzed prior to disposal. She's unhappy because rather than put it in a container with her name written on the container, he labeled the organ directly? Unbelievable!

    September 14, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. katrinaspelvin

    Everyone can shut-up after we start branding penis's and balls, too.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • This is Why Medical Insurance is So High

      Medical waste has to be identifiable. I don't see why it is illegal to label it – I guess he should have used her patient ID number rather than her name so that the HIPAA idiots are happy....

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

    I see where most of you missed the point of the article. You were all probably out sick during 4th grade reading and comprehension. So, the core question is 'Why is the patient suing the doctor?': Please choose the best answer:

    A) He was her friend but she didn't know him before the operation.
    B) He inscribed her name into her uterus without her permission.
    C) She had burns on her legs after the operation and later discovered the Dr. performed a non-standard procedure by cauterizing her name into her uterus.
    D) He misspelled her name
    E) She is a pacifist and objects to being operated on by a Combat Gyn.

    If you chose answer C, congratulations! Why!!? The woman went back in to see her doctor because she had inexplicable burns on her show her name cauterized into her uterus which was a non-standard procedure...the patient is making a reasonable assumption that the leg burns and uterine cauterization are linked. Proving it will be another matter...

    September 14, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • This is Why Medical Insurance is So High

      ...the patient is making a reasonable assumption that the leg burns and uterine cauterization are linked.

      Doesn't sound at all reasonable to me that an organ which has been removed from the body and labeled and labeled with cauterization after it was removed would cause leg pains. Do you believe in voodoo dolls also?

      September 14, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicole24

      The cautery is used with all hysterectomies to ligate the vessels.

      September 14, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meanie

      @This is Why Medical Insurance is So High
      You clearly have read too many other posts on this article as you are reading something into the article that just is not there. Where does it mention in the article where and when the uterus was cauterized with her name?

      Incidentally, this is not why medical Insurance is so high, its why medical malpractice insurance is so high.

      September 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. vernon

    When I saw the headline I was reminded of a story (does anyone else remember it?) in which a doctor carved his initials into a patient's abdomen. If I remember correctly he used a mental illness defense and agreed to stop practicing medicine. After reading the story, though, this isn't the same. I agree that she was not damaged.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. iLZ

    At least he didn't eat it.....

    September 14, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • KLM

      ahah! OMG that is too freakin' f-u-n-n-y!!!!!

      September 14, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Steph

    At first I found this ridiculous. I mean really, it was removed, she wasn't keeping it. Who knows what happens to our body parts once they are removed? When I had my gall bladder removed I never asked what would happen to it. Never bothered to ask if it would be labeled, tossed in medical waste with other body parts, used for med students, etc. Nor would I care. However, the fact that she suffered burns is a problem. If this wasn't part of the regular surgery and she was not told ahead of time that there was a chance of burns, then she has a case where that is concerned. The name writing part, in my opinion, is just people seeing a chance to get rich. Play the poor me role and get a check.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RJ

    After reading the article fully, and then reading some of the comments, I have deduced the following:
    1)The uterus was removed
    2)Uterus was branded after removal
    3)The pictures: It seems that taking pictures after a procedure by a doctor is becoming more prevalent to avoid frivolous lawsuits. What the Dr. probably did was branded the uterus with the patients name so that when the pictures were taken, there would be no doubt that the uterus in the picture matched the other pictures of the patient/procedure. Much like marking a body part (with a sharpie) before surgery to make sure the right part is being worked on.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      I should add that the branding is a little odd, but maybe that something new, who knows?
      But I agree with "Meanie" above, the lawsuit is over the burns, the branding is secondary. "IF" she wins, it will be over the burns and not the branding, due to the fact she no longer "owned" the uterus. Now, if the doc posted pictures online of the uterus and the patients name, when then yeah, she might have a case; otherwise, it's waste, gone in the garbage, destroyed.

      September 14, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • shawn

      actually what you just listed makes sense .

      September 14, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
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