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

Henrietta Strickland
January 13, 2018

Simon Bramhall, 53, used an argon machine to write his initials on the organs of anaesthetised patients in 2013 while working at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

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.

Last month Bramhall pleaded guilty to assaulting a patient whose name is protected by a court order during an operation in August 2013.

Bramhall's initials, which measured 1.5 inches (4 cm), were subsequently spotted by another surgeon. The branding was four centimetres high.

He resigned from his job at the hospital in 2014 after another surgeon found "SB" branded on a failed donor liver.

The offence of assault by beating was brought against Bramhall to reflect the act of marking the liver and there is no suggestion he was responsible for physically "beating" either patient.

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC had earlier told the court that one of the two victims initialled by the world-renowned surgeon had been left feeling "violated" and suffered ongoing psychological harm.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she had at first thought the report was "too farcical" to have happened, before realising she had been one of Bramhall's patients. A prosecutor criticized the surgeon, saying his actions were "without legal precedent in criminal law". He was given a formal reprimand by the General Medical Council, a professional governing body, last February.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Bramhall marked his initials on the patients' livers without their consent "for no clinical reason" using a medical instrument created to seal bleeding blood vessels.

"It was what I would imagine the feeling is for someone who is a victim of rape", she said.

"I accept that on both occasions you were exhausted and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgement".

Bramhal is due to be sentenced by Judge Paul Farrer QC on Friday morning.

"I accept that you didn't intend or foresee anything but the most trivial of harm would be caused".

Speaking after Bramhall's suspension, Patient Concern's Joyce Robins said: "This is a patient we are talking about, not an autograph book".

Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital said Mr Bramhall had made "a mistake".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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