British surgeon fined, avoids jail after burning initials onto livers of patients

Specialist surgeon Dr. Simon Bramhall leaves Birmingham Crown Court in England on Friday. Bramhall had pleaded guilty to two counts of assault relating to burning his initials onto livers used in transplants and was fined and ordered to perform communit

British surgeon fined, avoids jail after burning initials onto livers of patients

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).

Bramhall, of Tarrington, Herefordshire, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating in December after prosecutors accepted his not guilty pleas to charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He used an argon beam machine, an instrument created to seal bleeding blood vessels, to sear his initials "SB" into their livers.

Simon Bramhall used an argon beam machine to "write" on the organs of two anaesthetised victims in February and August 2013 while working at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Badenoch said of the initial transplant operation: "Mr Bramhall had to work exceptionally hard and use all of his skill to complete the operation".

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Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC reportedly told the court one of the victims was left feeling "violated" and suffering ongoing psychological harm.

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

Judge Paul Farrer QC, presiding over the case, reckoned that both liver transplant operations were hard and long, which likely made the surgeon stressed and exhausted, clouding his judgement.

"What you did was an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust that these patients had invested in you", Judge Paul Farrer told him at Birmingham Crown Court.

Defense attorneys argued Bramhall's acts were a "naïve and foolhardy" attempt on his part to relieve the tension of multiple operations, the BBC reported.

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This is not the first time that Bramhall has made the headlines. "There was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes".

Frank Ferguson, head of special crime at the CPS, said Bramhall was a highly-respected surgeon to whom many patients owed their lives.

A nurse who saw the initialling queried what had happened and Bramhall was said to have replied: "I do this".

"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". Clearly he did not anticipate that it would be seen, I would suggest, but there was further surgery and he may not have understood how long it was likely to last. There is no greater trust than the trust which a patient places in a surgeon when they are having an operation.

Former patients of Bramhall offered their support for the surgeon. Why did he think that it was appropriate to do this to me?

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