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

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A DISGRACED surgeon who "betrayed the trust" of his patients by burning his initials on to the livers of two unconscious transplant patients has been spared jailed.

Prosecutors described how he used an argon beam to put his initials on the livers of two anaesthetised patients at the end of transplant operations in February and August 2013.

Bramhall, 53, resigned from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, about 110 miles (175 km) northwest of London, in 2014.

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

Farrer fined Bramhall £10,000 ($13,650, €11,250) and sentenced him to 12 months of unpaid community work.

Patient A's donor organ failed a week after the operation - for reasons unconnected to its implantation - and another surgeon spotted Bramhall's initials "SB" branded on the organ.

Opening the facts of the case against Bramhall, Tony Badenoch QC, prosecuting, said one of the surgeon's victims had been left feeling "violated" and suffering psychological harm.

A photograph of the organ showing the 4cm high letters, taken on a mobile phone, was used as evidence in the case.

One of the patients supporting the surgeon told the court how she had been given just three months to live in 2006 when Simon Bramhall told her he would take the decks to operate on her 15cm tumour.

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.

Badenoch acknowledged that the surgeon's branding did not cause any harm to the patients' liver, but the practice is still highly immoral and borderline criminal. "I accept that you didn't intend or foresee anything but the most trivial of harm would be caused".

"He also said that in hindsight this was naive and foolhardy - a misjudged attempt to relieve the tension in theatre".

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 in a statement: "The Trust is clear that Mr Bramhall made a mistake in the context of a complex clinical situation and this has been dealt with via the appropriate authorities, including the Trust as his then employer". "There was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes".

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