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Liver-signing British surgeon fined $17350 and given community service
13 January 2018, 05:14 | Randall Craig
Christopher Furlong Getty Images
The argon beam machine he used to burn his initials is typically used to stop bleeding during surgery, or to mark the area for operation.
One of the victims, referred to in court as Patient A, received a donor organ in 2013 in a life-saving operation carried out by Bramhall.
The consultant, who was given a formal warning by the General Medical Council (GMC) last February, admitted two counts of assault by beating last month after prosecutors accepted his not guilty pleas to charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
A photograph of the organ showing the 4cm high letters, taken on a mobile phone, was used as evidence in the case.
The charges were brought more than three years after Bramhall was suspended by the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.
Opening the facts of the case against Bramhall, Tony Badenoch QC, prosecuting, said one of the surgeon's victims had been left feeling "violated" and suffering psychological harm.
"What you did was an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust that these patients had invested in you", Judge Paul Farrer told him at Birmingham Crown Court.
He claimed it was a "naive and foolhardy" attempt to relieve tension in the operating theatre, a court heard.
Patient A's liver failed about a week after his transplant and another surgeon discovered the initialing, which was not related to the failing.
Bramhall resigned from the Birmingham hospital in 2014 after another surgeon found "SB" branded into a liver and raised concerns.
Defence barrister Michael Duck QC said: "A number of people who sit in this court are able to sit in this court because of the skill of Mr Bramhall".
A well-known and respected surgeon who admitted burning his initials onto the livers of two patients during transplant operations has been sentenced.
Badenoch acknowledged that the surgeon's branding did not cause any harm to the patients' liver, but the practice is still highly immoral and borderline criminal.
"Both of the operations were long and hard". I accept that on both occasions you were exhausted and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgment.
He said: "I accept that on both occasions you were exhausted 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".
In addition to the fine, Bramhall was ordered to perform 120 hours of unpaid work. "There was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes".
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