Surgeon admits signing initials on patients' livers

Faith Castro
December 16, 2017

A British surgeon will be sentenced early next year after he pleaded guilty to assaulting two patients by branding his initials on their organs while performing surgery.

Liver surgeons use an argon beam in order to stop livers from bleeding, but they can also use the beam to burn the surface of the liver when necessary to draw where an operation will take place. It is normally used to cauterise small blood vessels.

During the liver transplant operations, Bramhall chose to brand his patients using something called an argon beam coagulator.

Usually, such brandings do not cause harm to patients, but one of Bramhall's female patients reported that her liver did not heal properly.

"Those assaults were wrong not just ethically, but also criminally".

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The 53-year-old surgeon resigned from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in 2014 after another doctor's discovery of what he had done resulted in disciplinary proceedings.

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said the case was "without legal precedent in criminal law", adding that the Crown accepted his not guilty pleas.

Bramhall is now out on bail and will face sentencing January 12 at Birmingham Crown Court in central England. "His acts in marking the livers of those patients, in a wholly unnecessary way, were deliberate and conscious acts on his part".

But prosecutor Elizabeth Reid said that the organ signing amounted to a criminal abuse of trust, according to The Guardian. What Bramhall had done was not an isolated incident and required "some skill and concentration".

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