'Arrogant' surgeon burned his initials onto patients' livers during transplants

UK doctor admits branding initials into patients' livers

A surgeon who burned his initials on to the livers of two patients during transplant surgery has been given a 12-month community order and been fined £10,000.

He previously pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating relating to two incidents on February 9 and August 21 in 2013, and denied the more serious charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

According to reports, a court heard Simon Bramhall, 53, used an argon beam to mark two patients' livers with "SB" in a "naive and foolhardy" attempt to relieve tension in the operating theatre.

After Bramhall's pleas were entered, prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC described the case as "without legal precedent in criminal law" and said the offences were committed in the presence of medical colleagues.

Judge Paul Farrer QC found Bramhall's conduct was an abuse of power "born of professional arrogance", reports the Birmingham Mail.

The judge accepted that the patients were not physically harmed but said one had suffered "extreme and enduring" psychological stress after learning what had happened.

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Undated handout photo issued by West Midlands Police of Simon Bramhall.

"I accept that on both occasions you were exhausted and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgment", the judge continued.

The eminent doctor described as one of the leading surgeon's in his medical field appeared for sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court on January 12 after he admitted two charges of assault at an earlier court appearance, claiming his actions were created to relieve tension during surgery.

"I accept that you didn't intend or foresee anything but the most trivial of harm would be caused". "Why did he think that it was appropriate to do this to me?"

But the donor liver failed around a week later - for reasons unconnected to its implantation - and another surgeon spotted Bramhall's initials on the organ.

She said her trust in doctors had been destroyed, adding: "My lack of trust in the doctors made me question what could have gone wrong with my new liver". Speaking to the press at the time, he said marking his initials on to his patients' livers had been a mistake.

Mr Badenoch said of the initial transplant operation: "Mr Bramhall had to work exceptionally hard and use all of his skill to complete the operation". I genuinely believe that the failure of the liver was due to the actions of Simon Bramhall burning his initials on to it.


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