British surgeon caught burning initials onto the livers of two patients

Henrietta Brewer
December 15, 2017

A surgeon in the United Kingdom pleads guilty to carving his initials into the livers of at least two patients during transplant operations. He was suspended from his post as consultant surgeon at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth hospital soon after.

Simon Bramhall, 53, pleaded guilty to assault but not guilty to charges of assault causing actual bodily harm.

Judge Paul Farrer allowed Bramhall to stand in front of the dock, in the well of the court, as the surgeon pleaded guilty to assaulting a patient whose name is protected by a court order during an operation in August 2013. The marks normally disappear and the beam is not harmful to the liver.

Elizabeth Reid, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said Bramhall's actions were an abuse of the trust placed in him by the patients.

Bramhall has now been released on bail and will be sentenced on January 12.

"It was an intentional application of unlawful force to a patient whilst anesthetized", Tony Badenoch, one of the prosecutors in the case, said of Bramhall's acts.

But in 2013, colleagues discovered that he had been initialing his patients' organs. However, one of the patients required a follow-up procedure, during which Bramhall's initials were spotted, the Daily Mail reports.

Reports say Bramhall used a device meant to stop bleeding to brand the organs. "I was the subject of a disciplinary meeting and I was not fired", he said, acknowledging that he made "a mistake". "The man saved my life". As reported by the Associated Press, a prosecutor described the case as "without legal precedent in criminal law". "It will be for others to decide whether and to what extent his fitness to practice is impaired".

The surgeon resigned in 2014 and is awaiting his sentencing on January 12.

"It risks bringing the profession into disrepute and it must not be repeated", it said at the time.

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