The eminent doctor described as one of the leading surgeon’s in his medical field appeared for sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court on January 12 after he admitted two charges of assault at an earlier court appearance, claiming his actions were designed to relieve tension during surgery.
Prosecutors described how he used an argon beam to put his initials on the livers of two anaesthetised patients at the end of transplant operations in February and August 2013.
It was only when one of the livers failed — for reasons unconnected to Bramhall’s actions — another surgeon discovered “SB” burnt onto it and took a photo of the 4cm mark.
Bramhall, who is world-renowned in his profession of specializing in liver, spleen and pancreas surgery, later resigned from his job at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2014.
Birmingham Crown Court heard how one of the victims was left feeling “violated” and still suffers extreme psychological harm.
In a victim impact statement, she said the moment she was shown the mark “will forever be etched on my mind”.
A nurse who witnessed the surgeon’s actions said she had asked him what he was doing; he is said to have replied: “I do this.”
The court heard Bramhall later told police he had “flicked his wrist” and made the mark in a few seconds.
“He knew that the action could cause no harm to the patient. He also said that in hindsight this was naive and foolhardy — a misjudged attempt to relieve the tension in theatre,” said prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC.
Simon Bramhall begins to look visibly upset in the dock while hearing former patient describe her treatment by him and how he was the first person who gave her the hope she could survive and how she owes her life to him after he removed a 15cm tumour from her liver in 2006. pic.twitter.com/2vMntXtYhz
— Chris Halpin (@ChrisHalpinTV) 12 January 2018
Simon Bramhall got a 12 month community order and a fine!!?? He burned his initials into people’s livers during surgery — his patients trusted him. 12 month community order?? ‘It was just two isolated incidents in a long and illustrious career!’ 😳😳😳
— Jessica Eaton (@Jessicae13Eaton) 12 January 2018
Sentencing him on January 12, Judge Paul Farrer QC ordered he be given a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and fined him £10,000.
He said: “I accept that on both occasions you were tired and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgement.This was conduct born of professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour.
A large number of former patients of Bramhall turned up at court to show their support and gratitude to him.
In his defense, Bramhall was described as “one of the outstanding surgeons of his generation.”
Simon Bramhall is a brilliant,brilliant surgeon that performed my liver resection in 2013 at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He should never be lost to the medical profession for the hysterical reaction to his harmless initials being etched on two patients livers during surgery.
— Pappa Tommo (@etkt5116) 12 January 2018
One of the patients supporting the surgeon told the court how she had been given just three months to live in 2006 when Simon Bramhall told her he would take the decks to operate on her 15cm tumour.
“It was Mr Bramhall who gave me my first instincts of hope,” Barbara Moss explained.
Military surgeon Colonel Douglas Bowley also paid tribute to the work Bramhall has carried out on injured service personnel returning from the war in Afghanistan.
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