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Doctor Branded Woman’s Uterus After Surgery; Called it a “Friendly Gesture”

California – from – After performing a hysterectomy last year, a California gynecologist used a cauterizing tool to brand his patient’s name on her removed uterus, an unorthodox move that the doctor calls a “friendly gesture,” but which the woman terms “despicable conduct” in a medical negligence lawsuit.

In a Superior Court lawsuit filed earlier this month, Ingrid Paulicivic, a 47-year-old hairdresser, charges that Dr. Red Alinsod used an “electrocautery device to carve and burn” the word “Ingrid” on her uterus, which was removed during a June 2009 operation at his Orange County office.

Paulicivic alleges that the branding was done for “no medically necessary purpose or reason” and that she somehow suffered burns on her legs while the uterus was being marked, according to her complaint. In an interview, Paulicivic’s lawyer, Devan Mullins, called the branding “inexcusably bizarre behavior,” adding that the 50-year-old Alinsod was “fooling around and having fun.”

While noting that he has never previously branded an organ or body part removed during surgery, Alinsod told TSG that he wrote Paulicivic’s name on the uterus because he “did not want to get it confused with others.” Asked whether this was a standard way of labeling body parts, Alinsod acknowledged that it was not. Usually, he said, a patient’s name is written on an accompanying blue sterile towel or a sterile piece of wood like a tongue depressor.

Alinsod contended that Paulicivic’s hysterectomy–which was done under general anesthesia–was “uneventful” and that the matter of the uterus branding was a “red herring” raised by her legal counsel. He claimed that he “felt comfortable putting her name on the uterus” since Paulicivic, pictured above, was a “good friend.”

Though Alinsod referred to the branding as a “gesture of friendship,” Mullins said that his client “had never met him prior to the first consult,” adding that she was actually an acquaintance of a receptionist who works in the doctor’s Laguna Beach office.

Mullins said that Paulicivic and her husband Joe, a photographer, learned of the branding during a follow-up visit with Alinsod, during which she complained about the burns suffered during the operation. After seeing Alinsod examining photos taken during the operation, the couple asked for copies of the images. Alinsod told TSG that he complied with the request since he had “nothing to hide.”

Alinsod provided the couple with about 50 digital images, Mullins said, including photos showing the doctor writing on the uterus, as well as pictures of him holding the organ after “Ingrid” was branded on it.

Mullins, who declined to provide TSG with any of the post-surgery photos, estimated that each of the letters in “Ingrid” was about one inch high and the name itself was about five inches wide.

According to a biography on his web site, Alinsod has practiced as an OB/GYN specialist for about 20 years, a period that included time in the United States Air Force (where he headed gynecologic services units at military bases in Nevada and California).

“He was affectionately called a ‘Combat Gynecologist’ by his colleagues,” his bio reports.

Alinsod’s web site is stocked with hundreds of graphic photos and videos recording the wide range of medical procedures he handles, including vaginal rejuvenation, hymen repair, and laser resurfacing.

Paulicivic’s lawsuit, which includes her husband as a plaintiff, does not specify monetary damages. Along with accusing Alinsod of medical negligence, the complaint charges the doctor with battery and contends that Joe Paulicivic has been “permanently injured and damaged” due to the resulting loss of consortium with his wife.

In early-2003, a group of women sued a Kentucky doctor for branding them during surgery. As seen on one surgical video, Dr. James Guiler, a University of Kentucky medical school graduate, used a cauterizing device to place the initials “UK” on the uterus of a patient undergoing a hysterectomy. The branding–which was done during surgery while the organ was in place–was reportedly a way for Guiler to remain oriented during the procedure. The outcome of those lawsuits could not be determined.


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