Simon Bramhall: Surgeon who branded patients' livers during operations fined £10000

Henrietta Brewer
January 13, 2018

Simon Bramhall, a British surgeon who branded his initials in the livers of two patients under anesthesia in 2013, has been fined 10,000 pounds ($13,700) and ordered to do 120 hours of community service for his actions.

The surgeon pleaded not guilty to alternative charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

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.

Bramhall claimed he had been "tired" during the surgeries, but Judge Paul Farrer said he had shown "professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour", according to media.

"And no greater vulnerability than that of a patient who's under general anaesthetic and the breach of that trust and the abuse of that power were aggravating features that led us to conclude it was the right thing to do to take this case forward". "I accept that you didn't intend or foresee anything but the most trivial of harm would be caused".

But the donor liver failed around a week later - for reasons unconnected to its implantation - and another surgeon spotted Bramhall's initials on the organ.

Birmingham Crown Court earlier heard that the surgeon's actions were a "naive and foolhardy" attempt to relieve tension after two hard transplant operations.

"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".

But asked about the doctor's motive, he said: "I can't speak in terms of why he did that. We can reassure his patients that there was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes".

The judge accepted that the patients were not physically harmed, but said one had suffered "extreme and enduring" psychological stress after learning what had happened.

Doctors have said that burning organs in this way would not have damaged them or affected the health of the patients.

Speaking on the fine and community order, Mr Hughes said: "He should never have been fined".

The General Medical Council said past year that Bramhall's conduct risked bringing his profession into disrepute and issued a warning to him but did not think it warranted further punishment.

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