Liver-Branding Surgeon Fined More Than $13,000, Ordered To Do Community Service

Jan 12, 2018
Originally published on January 12, 2018 1:53 pm

Simon Bramhall, the British surgeon who branded his initials onto patients' livers during transplant surgeries at least twice, has been ordered to do 120 hours of community service and pay £10,000 (more than $13,600).

Bramhall pleaded guilty in December to two counts of assault for branding his patients.

An investigation found that the doctor had marked "SB" on two patients' livers, as the Two-Way reluctantly wrote last month:

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

" 'Bramhall used an argon beam coagulator, which seals bleeding blood vessels with an electric beam, to mark his initials on the organs,' the AP writes.

"The internal graffiti very likely did not cause any damage, The Guardian reports: 'The marks left by argon are not thought to impair the organ's function and usually disappear by themselves.' "

According to the BBC, Judge Paul Farrer accepted that Bramhall did not intend or foresee any harm to the patients but said that his actions were nonetheless "an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust," saying in court:

"Both of the operations were long and difficult. I accept that on both occasions you were tired and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgment.

"This was conduct born of professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour."

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch said that Bramhall "said in hindsight [the branding] was naive and foolhardy — a misjudged attempt to relieve the tension in theatre," The Guardian reports.

One of Bramhall's branded patients, an unnamed woman, wrote a victim impact statement shared during the sentencing hearing, The Mirror reports.

"I just wish I could have been treated in the same way as other patients," she wrote, according to The Mirror. "The horror of seeing the photo of my cut open body with the initials SB on the liver will forever live in my mind. I personally hate the thought of tattoos anyway, and the thought of someone doing this to me while I was unconscious is abhorrent."

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