A surgeon from England who admitted to branding his initials onto two of his patients’ livers during transplant surgeries in 2013 has officially been struck off the medical register, and is no longer allowed to practice medicine in the U.K., according to its General Medical Council website.
Simon Bramhall, MBChB, was a liver transplant surgeon and lecturer at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, deputy director of the division of medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.
Records from the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) show that Bramhall pled guilty in 2017 to two counts of assault for using an argon beam coagulator — a device often used during transplant surgeries to resect organs — to autograph his initials on the transplanted livers of two patients during their surgeries.
A week after one victim’s surgery, the donor liver began to fail for reasons unrelated to Bramhall’s actions, the BBC reported. The branding was only discovered when another surgeon performed a follow-up procedure on the patient.
Bramhall was ordered to pay a £10,000 fine and complete a 12-month community order, and was later suspended for a period of 5 months in 2020.
“My actions were a serious departure from Good Medical Practice at a number of levels including carrying out the marking of the liver without the patients’ consent, not treating my patients with the dignity that they deserve and harming the public and patients trust in the medical profession,” Bramhall said in an MPTS report made public in June 2021. “My actions demonstrated ‘professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour.'”
One of Bramhall’s victims suffered from significant mental health issues as a result of Bramhall’s branding, the report stated, a fact that Bramhall himself acknowledged.
“The witness statement provided by the patient talked about her belief that my actions led to her first transplant failing (this was not supported by expert evidence but undoubtedly affected her mental health) and she continues to have flashbacks,” Bramhall said in the MPTS documents. “My actions have undoubtedly caused the patient significant harm to her mental health which could so easily have been avoided had I not been so foolhardy and arrogant.”
According to initial coverage from the BBC, Bramhall executed the branding on his patients in front of colleagues. When a nurse who reportedly witnessed it questioned his actions, Bramhall was said to have replied, “I do this.”
Bramhall has since taken to writing novels, along with his writing partner, Fionn Murphy. One novel — titled The Letterman — is based on Bramhall’s criminal branding behaviors. The description of the book reads in part: “All it takes is a split second. One moment’s madness — and nothing will ever be the same again.”
In the wake of the tribunal’s decision, Bramhall has been issued an immediate suspension order to cover a 28-day appeal period.
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