'Liver branding' surgeon Simon Bramhall avoids jail, gets fine, community service

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Tony Badenoch QC said one victim initialed by the surgeon had been left feeling "violated" and was suffering ongoing psychological harm.

The woman, who said she didn't even like the ideas of tattoos on skin, told the court: "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 argon beam machine he used to burn his initials is typically used to stop bleeding during surgery, or to mark the area for operation.

Cell phone pictures were taken of the branding, and Bramhall later admitted to the act.

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

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.

The hospital said burning his initials into the livers had "no impact whatsoever" on the success of the operations.

"At the end of the operation he performed a liver biopsy using the argon beam coagulator, and then used it to burn his initials".

Defence barrister Michael Duck QC said: "A number of people who sit in this court are able to sit in this court because of the skill of Mr Bramhall".

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

One of the patients supporting the surgeon was Barbara Moss, who was given just three months to live in 2006 when Simon Bramhall told her he would operate on a 15cm tumour.

A surgeon has been found guilty of assault by beating after he branded his initials on the livers of two patients.

"He knew that the action could cause no harm to the patient".

Farrer fined Bramhall £10,000 ($13,650, €11,250) and sentenced him to 12 months of unpaid community work.

"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". He was working at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital at the time.

Judge Paul Farrer QC said: "Both of the (transplant) operations were long and hard".

"I accept that on both occasions you were exhausted and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgment", the judge continued.

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 behaviour".



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