Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

United Kingdom surgeon fined for burning initials into patients' livers

United Kingdom surgeon fined for burning initials into patients' livers

Simon Bramhall, the British surgeon who branded his initials onto patients' livers during transplant surgeries at least twice, has been ordered to do 120 hours of community service and pay £10,000 (more than $13,000).

He pled not guilty to more severe charges of assault causing bodily harm, and prosecutors accepted it.

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.

Tony Badenoch, prosecuting, said the freaky incidents took place at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2013.

A judge at the city's crown court said Bramhall, who resigned from the hospital in 2014, had "abused his power".

He said: "I accept that on both occasions you were exhausted and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgement.This was conduct born of professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour".

Tony Badenoch QC said one victim initialed by the surgeon had been left feeling "violated" and was suffering ongoing psychological harm.

It was only when one of the livers failed - for reasons unconnected to Bramhall's actions - another surgeon discovered "SB" burnt onto it and took a photo of the 4cm mark.

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

Simon Bramhall, 53, seared his initials on a patient's liver after conducting a hard transplant in a "naive and foolhardy" attempt to relieve tension, a court heard.

"Mr. Bramhall made a mistake in the context of a complex clinical situation and this has been dealt with via the appropriate authorities, said a statement released by The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The criminal law applies equally to everybody, and although these are a unique set of circumstances, this was a really important case - both for the witnesses and the victims involved - but also to maintain the confidence of the patients who put their complete trust in surgeons".

He said a nurse working on the second operation saw him marking the organ but when she asked what he was doing, he said: "This is what I do".

"There was some physical harm to the liver, although that's minor in terms of cell damage but it would be akin to a minor external burn".

Mr Ferguson said he did not anticipate any further charges and there was no evidence Bramhall's colleagues covered up his actions. "We can reassure his patients that there was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes". I think it should have been thrown out.

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