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Surgeon Who Branded His Initials Into Patients' Livers Struck Off From Medical Register

Jess Hardiman

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Surgeon Who Branded His Initials Into Patients' Livers Struck Off From Medical Register

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

A consultant surgeon has been struck off the register after burning his initials onto the livers of two patients while they were unconscious. 

In 2013, Simon Bramhall, 57, used an argon beam machine to brand the patients’ organs while he was working as a liver transplant surgeon at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham

In December 2017, he admitted two charges of assault by beating at Birmingham Crown Court – the following month being handed a community order and a £10,000 fine. 

His sentencing hearing in 2018 was told how one of the victims suffered serious psychologicla harm as a result of the unnecessary branding.

Bramhall had told police he burned the marks into the livers to relieve operating theatre tensions, following long and difficult procedures that year.

But a review today (Tuesday 11 January) concluded that Bramhall’s actions were ‘borne out of a degree of professional arrogance’. 

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) also said his name should be removed from the medical register. 

Bramhall in 2010. Credit: Alamy
Bramhall in 2010. Credit: Alamy

The tribunal said in its determination: “The Tribunal, having concluded that a suspension order would be insufficient to protect the wider public interest, determined that the appropriate and proportionate sanction is erasure. 

“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.” 

The conclusion continued: “The Tribunal acknowledged that in many cases where erasure is appropriate the abuse of trust will have occurred over a sustained period of time. 

“However, in the circumstances of this case, the short time it took to mark the patients’ livers, and the overall context of providing life-saving care do not mitigate Mr Bramhall’s gross violation of his patient’s dignity and autonomy.” 

Bramhall in 2018. Credit: Alamy
Bramhall in 2018. Credit: Alamy

The tribunal said it ‘rejected the submission made on behalf of Mr Bramhall that it was to relieve tension’, adding: “It was an act borne out of a degree of professional arrogance. 

“There is no indication before the Tribunal that this is a deep-seated attitudinal failing, but it occurred on two separate occasions within a six month period in the presence of others and Mr Bramhall did not initially recognise the magnitude of his criminal behaviour even when questioned. 

“In these circumstances, the Tribunal concluded that the only proportionate sanction is erasure. 

“The Tribunal has therefore directed that Mr Bramhall’s name be erased from the Medical Register.” 

 

Topics: UK News

Jess Hardiman
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