Surgeon avoids being struck off after branding livers of two patients

·4 min read
FILE PICTURE - Consultant Simon Bramhall. A surgeon who admitted burning his initials on to the livers of two unconscious transplant patients is due to be sentenced by a Crown Court judge. See NTI story NTILIVER. Simon Bramhall used an argon beam machine to “write” on the organs of two anaesthetised victims in February and August 2013 while working at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The 53-year-old admitted two counts of assault by beating at Birmingham Crown Court last month after prosecutors accepted his not guilty pleas to charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Bramhall marked his initials on the patients’ livers without their consent “for no clinical reason” using a medical instrument designed to seal bleeding blood vessels. - SWNS
FILE PICTURE - Consultant Simon Bramhall. A surgeon who admitted burning his initials on to the livers of two unconscious transplant patients is due to be sentenced by a Crown Court judge. See NTI story NTILIVER. Simon Bramhall used an argon beam machine to “write” on the organs of two anaesthetised victims in February and August 2013 while working at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The 53-year-old admitted two counts of assault by beating at Birmingham Crown Court last month after prosecutors accepted his not guilty pleas to charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Bramhall marked his initials on the patients’ livers without their consent “for no clinical reason” using a medical instrument designed to seal bleeding blood vessels. - SWNS

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."

Simon Bramhall leaves Birmingham Crown Court. December 11, 2017. See NATIONAL story NNLIVER. A transplant surgeon who allegedly branded his initials on a patients' livers has been charged with causing them actual bodily harm and will go on trial at Birmingham Crown Court today, December 12, 2017. Consultant surgeon Simon Bramhall, 53, is charged with burning 'SB' onto the livers of two patients during transplants when he worked at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, West Midlands. During one operation on 9 February 2013 the experienced surgeon allegedly assaulted a male patient causing actual bodily harm. Four months later on 21 August 2013 a female patient had a transplant and Bramhall is alleged to have caused her actual bodily harm. Liver surgeons use an argon beam to stop livers bleeding, but can also use it to burn the surface of the liver to sketch out the area of an operation. It is usually not harmful and the marks would normally disappear but the woman in question's liver did not heal itself in the normal manner and the initials were found in a follow-up operation, it is alleged. Bramhall of Redditch, Worcestershire denies two counts of actual bodily harm. He was a liver, spleen and pancreatic surgeon who worked within the QE's liver unit for 12 years. - SWNS
Simon Bramhall leaves Birmingham Crown Court. December 11, 2017. See NATIONAL story NNLIVER. A transplant surgeon who allegedly branded his initials on a patients' livers has been charged with causing them actual bodily harm and will go on trial at Birmingham Crown Court today, December 12, 2017. Consultant surgeon Simon Bramhall, 53, is charged with burning 'SB' onto the livers of two patients during transplants when he worked at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, West Midlands. During one operation on 9 February 2013 the experienced surgeon allegedly assaulted a male patient causing actual bodily harm. Four months later on 21 August 2013 a female patient had a transplant and Bramhall is alleged to have caused her actual bodily harm. Liver surgeons use an argon beam to stop livers bleeding, but can also use it to burn the surface of the liver to sketch out the area of an operation. It is usually not harmful and the marks would normally disappear but the woman in question's liver did not heal itself in the normal manner and the initials were found in a follow-up operation, it is alleged. Bramhall of Redditch, Worcestershire denies two counts of actual bodily harm. He was a liver, spleen and pancreatic surgeon who worked within the QE's liver unit for 12 years. - SWNS

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.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting