Imagine going to the doctor for a routine hysterectomy and finding out that your doctor has branded your uterus? That’s exactly what happened to Ingrid Paulicivic, a 47-year-old Californian woman, whose gynecologist used a “electrocautery device to carve and burn” her name “Ingrid” on her uterus.
Before you totally freak out — the uterus had been removed from Ingrid’s body at the time. Dr. Red Alinsod admitted that he branded her name onto the removed organ, but says he did so as a “friendly gesture.” It’s standard practice for doctors to mark removed organs with the name of the patient in order to not confuse organs — but it’s typically NOT done with a branding iron. Dr. Alinsod acknowledged that it was not typical marking practice, but said he “felt comfortable putting her name on the uterus” because Paulicivic was a “good friend.” Paulicivic says that she and the doctor aren’t friends (though she was friends with his office receptionist). She’s suing him for “despicable conduct” and medical negligence — and claims she woke up from the surgery with burns on her legs related to the branding. She and her husband aren’t seeking financial compensation.
Weirdly (and terrifyingly), this isn’t the first time a woman’s uterus has been branded during surgery. In 2003, a group of women sued a Kentucky doctor who used a cauterizing device to place the initials “UK” on the uterus of a patient undergoing a hysterectomy while the organ was still in the body. [The Smoking Gun]