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Surgeon Simon Bramhall sentenced for assault on patients

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Simon Bramhall, a liver, spleen and pancreatic surgeon in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital's liver unit admitted two counts of assault by beating after prosecutors accepted his not guilty pleas to the alternative charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm last month.

He was sentenced to a 12 month community order and £10,000 fine today at Birmingham Crown Court.

Bramhall used an argon beam machine to ‘write’ his initials on the organs of two anaesthetised patients in February and August 2013 without their consent and for no clinical reason.

Surgeons normally and properly use the argon beam to stop the liver bleeding but can also use it to burn the surface of the liver to sketch out the area of an operation. Bramhall’s actions were discovered only because one patient’s liver did not heal itself in the normal manner and the initials were found in a follow-up operation.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Bramhall’s guilty plea at least represented: ‘an acceptance that what he did was not just ethically wrong but criminally wrong’.

Kashmir Uppal, the partner in Access Legal Solicitors medical negligence team who was instrumental in obtaining justice for private patients harmed by West Midlands breast surgeon Ian Paterson, commented:

‘While there is no suggestion that Mr Bramhall’s decision to engrave his patients’ organs with his initials caused damage to their health or affected their clinical outcomes, his actions were nonetheless an unacceptable breach of patient trust and an abuse of his position.’

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