Surgeon admits to branding initials on patients’ livers

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An accomplished British surgeon has admitted branding two of his patients’ livers with his initials. Yes, you read that right.

Dr. Simon Bramhall, 53, admitted to Birmingham Crown Court that he etched “SB” onto the livers of two transplant patients in 2013 using an argon beam. Argon beam coagulators are commonly used during such operations to stop blood flow and resection organs.

Bramhall’s handiwork didn’t appear to damage either liver, but the Telegraph reported that one of the patients ended up having other complications and that the initials were discovered during a followup procedure. Surprise, surgeons!

Bramhall was suspended in 2013 and resigned from his surgical position at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in 2014. A Birmingham Crown Court representative said he was charged with assault causing actual bodily harm but pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a lesser charge of assault by beating (beating here refers to the physical act of inscribing the livers, not actually beating the patients). He is free on bail and will be sentenced on January 12.

Elizabeth Reid, a specialist prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in London, said Bramhall’s actions were “deliberate and conscious.”

“Those assaults were wrong not just ethically, but also criminally,” she said in a statement. “It was an abuse of the trust placed in him by the patients.”

After he resigned in 2014, Bramhall told the BBC that he’d made a “mistake,” in reference to the incidents.

Efforts to contact the law firm RadcliffesLeBrasseur for comment from Bramhall’s lawyer were not successful.

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