'Arrogant' surgeon avoids jail after branding transplant patients with initials during surgery

He branded patients livers during procedures at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital

He branded patients livers during procedures at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital

"Arrogant" Simon Bramhall, 53, used an argon beam machine to write on the organs of two anaesthetised victims at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

During Bramhall's sentencing, more than 20 former patients of the liver surgeon were in court to support him.

Last month, Bramhall pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating, after prosecutors accepted his not guilty pleas to charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm relating to two patients.

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.

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.

The offence of assault by beating was brought against the consultant surgeon to reflect the act of marking the liver and there is no suggestion he was responsible for physically "beating" either patient.

Passing sentence Friday at Birmingham Crown Court in central England, judge Paul Farrer said Bramhall displayed "professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behavior". What was Simon Bramhall thinking of? A picture of the 4cm-high scrawl was taken on a mobile phone.

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".

"Because of my ordeal, my trust in doctors has been destroyed".

A nurse who saw the initialling queried what had happened and Bramhall was said to have replied: "I do this".

"I was so grateful to the medical team who put me on the urgent transplant list so quickly".

"The horror of seeing the photo of my cut open body with the initials SB on the liver will forever live in my mind".

The court heard Bramhall later told police he had "flicked his wrist" and made the mark in a few seconds.

'He knew that the action could cause no harm to the patient. "He also said that in hindsight this was naive and foolhardy - a misjudged attempt to relieve the tension in theater", Badenoch said.

The charges were brought more than three years after Bramhall was suspended by the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

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