Surgeon admits to lasering his initials into patients’ organs during surgery

A surgeon has admitted burning his initials into the livers of two transplant patients with a laser beam.

Consultant Simon Bramhall, 53, branded “SB” on the organs of a man and a woman undergoing transplant operations.

On Wednesday, he admitted two counts of assault by beating at Birmingham Crown Court but pleaded not guilty to alternative charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Liver surgeons use an argon beam to stop livers bleeding, but can also use the beam to burn the surface of the liver to sketch out the area of an operation.

It is usually not harmful and the marks would normally disappear.

But the female patient’s liver did not heal itself in the normal way and the initials were found in a follow-up operation.

Bramhall was a liver, spleen and pancreatic surgeon who worked at the liver unit within the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, West Midlands, for 12 years.

He was also involved in tutoring and examining medical students and supervising postgraduate students in higher degrees, management and research.

Bramhall pleaded guilty to assaulting a patient whose name is protected by a court order during an operation in August 2013. He also entered a guilty plea relating to an operation performed on an unknown patient in February of the same year and will be sentenced on January 12th.

Addressing the court after the pleas, the prosecutor, Tony Badenoch said: “This has been a highly unusual and complex case, both within the expert medical testimony served by both sides and in law.

“It is factually, so far as we have been able to establish, without legal precedent in criminal law.”

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