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. Thomas F Gibson

    It is this type of frivolous litigation that keeps Universal Healthcare from coming to our shores. It was a medical waste, and he used that method to track the organ. The alleged burns on her legs are what need to be investigated.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nicole

    Last year, as a med student, I partook in many hysterectomies, and I find it hard to believe that he labeled her uterus to avoid getting it mixed up with other organs as the uterus is extremely easy to identify. That being said, she had her uterus removed (hysterectomy) anyway, so although I don't approve of his branding, it isn't as if he is branding anything currently in her body...also I really can't see how she would get burns on her leg. The machine used has a safety to avoid burning the skin on our own fingers.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. shawn

    Hysterectomy means removal of the uterus .. Gone .
    He "branded " the useless organ to do a biopsy and not get the wrong organ
    Or wrong biopsy diagnosis probably either way or excuse the uterus is of no use.
    The burns on her legs ? How bad were the burns did anyone see them ? The nurses or her
    Husband ? Did she go back to the hospital to have that specifically treated?
    The uterus was probably [ absolutely ] taken elsewhere to [brand her name] into a piece
    Of useless waste now. I know I had one years ago . Would I give two hoots ? No.
    Unless I knew I could get $$$$$$$$$!

    September 14, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Penny

    What most of you are missing is that the uterus removed for a reason, and it wasn't "useless" once it was removed. There should have been an examination of the organ and samples taken and sent to the lab. The lab would be able to identify or rule out cancer (and what type, whether it's benign or malignant, etc) and other diseases. That would be useful information to know, don't you think?

    September 14, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      And thus the reason he branded it. Yes, maybe a bit unorthodox, but it's not like it was put back inside her. He tagged it for reference is what I am thinking, but then again, maybe I'm reading to much into it, or thinking way beyond the scope of most of the posters.

      September 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicole24

      OBgyn cancers aren't like other cancers...when we remove uterus' we already know the diagnosis. If we suspect lining cancer, we do a bx during the pts regular exam. The point is, by the time the pts uterus is being removed, we already know the problem.

      September 14, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. marley

    I have a uterus and frankly, I don't understand the big deal. Did she want to take it home and put it on the mantel?

    September 14, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. J

    OK, the doctor is a bit strange. But did he competently remove the organ? Was there a post-op infection? Did he brand the patient or leave an uncalled for scar on the patient? If the answers are Yes, No, No I'm not sure if this couple has been harmed in anyway. If he took video's of her privates and has them on his hard drive, that's another story. But writing her name on her soon to be discarded organ- strange, but not damaging. I hope this gets thrown out of court because malpractice and insurance rates are already high enough. The couple needs to get their medical records and take them to another doctor. End of story.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brynn

    Wah. Seriously? Who cares? The only reason the patient does is because she might be able to get some money out of it. Do people generally give consent on how their organs are labeled before they are dissected and disposed of? Maybe there should be some kind of organ removal look book so patients can decide how they want their body parts presented to the person who cremates them.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Meh

    What is this?... I don't even...

    September 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MickeyMudTurtle

    Why is it that some CNN links have a "like" button next to each post, while others (such as this one) do not? Hey, CNN, please put "like" buttons on *every* one of your links.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dee

    Oh good grief.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bjr

    I think this happened in Kentucky. The dr branded a UK on a womans uterus. If I remember correctly the suit was dropped.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hello friends

    Well if he loses his medical license he can always get a job as a tatoo artist.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. rosehips

    part of me says no big deal, but then more of me says wait. this smells fishy. or more like burnt uterus. yuck. That's not right. There are better ways to i.d. an organ than that, no? If I had burns on my legs after a hysterectomy and my uterus was branded, I'd be wondering out loud...

    September 14, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kim

    I seriously hate stupid lawsuits. People really need to get a job and make their own money instead of suing people to get money. I hope this family is reading this and realized what fools they are making of themselves. I also think its stupid that cnn would even report this because it just problably gives this couple validation like my story made it to cnn so I must be right. Also no where in the story did it say that the name on the organ and the burns on her legs were connected just that that was why they wanted the picutres. Quit taking your crappy life out on others. This is what is wrong with America today. Everything wrong in our lives we blame on someone else!

    September 14, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • MC

      Did you read the article? There's evidence the doctor burned the patient's legs during the operation. Just hope you never end up in the same nightmare situation yourself.

      September 14, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. casinoprincess

    She cares and that is all that matters. After further investigation, I am certain the authorities will find additional cases of MALPRACTICE! I hate to think of other attrocities he has committed...

    September 14, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Branding Medical Waste is not malpractice.

      September 14, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • sj

      No, "she cares" is NOT all that matters. What matters is whether or not she was really injured (the burns on the legs may count); whether the procedure was justified and conducted in as risk free a manner as POSSible; and whether or not any unjustified risky behavior contributed to a real injury.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
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