Sunday, 23 September, 2018

British surgeon fined $18000 for branding initials on patients' livers

Simon Bramhall: Surgeon who branded patients' livers during operations fined £10000 Surgeon who burnt initials on patients' livers during organ transplants sentenced
Ben Pena | 13 January, 2018, 17:01

A DISGRACED surgeon who "betrayed the trust" of his patients by burning his initials on to the livers of two unconscious transplant patients has been spared jailed.

Simon Bramhall, 53, used an argon beam machine to burn his initials on the organs of two anaesthetised victims in February and August 2013. Bramhall resigned from his job at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital after another surgeon spotted the initials when one of the doner livers failed, for reasons unconnected to its implantation.

Passing sentence yesterday at Birmingham Crown Court in central England, judge Paul Farrer said Bramhall displayed "professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour".

"The Associated Press reports that a prosecutor called the case 'without legal precedent in criminal law'".

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

Judge Paul Farrer QC, presiding over the case, reckoned that both liver transplant operations were hard and long, which likely made the surgeon stressed and exhausted, clouding his judgement.

Bramhall was a consultant surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham back in 2013, when a fellow surgeon performed a follow-up surgery on a patient and found the initials "SB" branded onto the patient's liver.

"It was important to bring this prosecution, both for the victims and also to maintain the confidence of patients who put their complete trust in surgeons", said Frank Ferguson, head of special crime for the Crown Prosecution Service.

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"I accept that you didn't intend or foresee anything but the most trivial of harm would be caused".

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

"We can reassure his patients that there was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes".

But asked about the doctor's motive, he said: "I can't speak in terms of why he did that".

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC reportedly told the court one of the victims was left feeling "violated" and suffering ongoing psychological harm. What was Simon Bramhall thinking of?

He added he did not anticipate any further charges and there was no evidence Bramhall's colleagues covered up his actions.

"He knew that the action could cause no harm to the patient", said Mr Badenoch.

Speaking on the fine and community order, Mr Hughes said: "He should never have been fined".

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