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Surgeon who branded livers of unconscious patients with his initials struck off

A consultant surgeon who burned his initials on to the livers of two unconscious patients has been struck off the medical register.

Simon Bramhall, from Tarrington in Herefordshire, used an argon beam machine, normally used to seal bleeding blood vessels, to ‘write’ his initials onto the organs of two anaesthetised patients during transplant surgery

A review by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service concluded Bramhall’s actions were “borne out of a degree of professional arrogance,” and his name should be erased from the medical register.

They said: “The physical assault of two vulnerable patients whilst unconscious in a clinical setting, one of whom experienced significant and enduring emotional harm, seriously undermines patients’ and the public’s trust and confidence in the medical profession and inevitably brings the profession as a whole into disrepute.

“Mr Bramhall abused his position of trust and during the short period it took for him to mark his initials he placed his own interests above the interests of his patients.”

Bramhall had admitted two charges of assault by beating at Birmingham Crown Court in December 2017, following the incidents at the city’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital in February and August 2013.

He was sentenced to a 12-month community order and fined £10,000.

He told police he branded the organs to relieve operating theatre tensions.

Judge Paul Farrer QC accepted Mr Bramhall had “profound regret” about what he did and was “genuinely remorseful”, but he noted the “emotional impact on his victims had been extreme”.

The court heard a surgeon colleague had discovered the initials ‘SB’ on the patient’s liver when removing it after it failed.

Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital said in a statement at the time of his sentencing: “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.

“We can reassure his patients that there was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes.”

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