A surgeon who branded his initials onto the livers of two patients has avoided being struck off despite pleading guilty to assault.
Consultant Simon Bramhall used an argon beam machine to mark the organs during transplant operations.
His initials were discovered on one of the patients' livers by chance after the donor organ Bramall had transplanted failed about a week after he had carried out the life-saving operation.
The 55-year-old resigned from his job at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and was later convicted of assault.
However, despite the General Medical Council advocating that he be struck off, a tribunal decided to suspend him after hearing he had been under pressure at the time of the incidents.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal, chaired by Christina Moller, considered that "his actions were seen by colleagues as out of character at a time of work-related stress".
"Mr Bramhall has taken responsibility for his actions, pleaded guilty to common assault at the earliest opportunity, demonstrated genuine remorse and sought to apologise," the tribunal said.
Mr Bramhall was suspended from the register for five months, but avoided being struck off because it was not "appropriate".
The tribunal report said: "Mr Bramhall's assault convictions are not fundamentally incompatible with continued registration, taking account of all the circumstances, guidance and relevant principles. It thus did not consider erasure to be an appropriate or proportionate response."
The tribunal made this decision despite Hugh Barton, representing the GMC, stating that erasure was the only "appropriate sanction" in this case. He added: "Conduct in Mr Bramhall's case was so serious that a suspension would not be sufficient to uphold standards and maintain public confidence in the profession."
Mr Bramhall, of Tarrington, Herefordshire, admitted two counts of assault by beating, at Birmingham Crown Court in December 2017, relating to the brandings. During the court case, legal firm HHJ Farrer described his actions as "professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour".
It said the physical harm suffered by the patient was "no more than transient or trifling" but added that Mr Bramhall's actions had caused a high level of harm due to the "emotional or psychological impact" on the patient. One of his victim's witness statement said she was "unable to switch off from the ordeal I have been through" and had "constant flashbacks".
He was fined £10,000 in 2018 after he was convicted, and was given a 12-month community order which included 120 hours of unpaid work.
Representing Mr Bramhall at the tribunal, Jon Holl-Allen QC said the surgeon had "ceased employment and relinquished his license to practise" prior to the suspension.
Mr Bramhall's suspension will be reviewed in five months time.