Liver-Branding Surgeon Fined More Than $13000, Ordered To Do Community Service


A surgeon who burned his initials on to the livers of two patients during transplant surgery has been given a 12-month community order and been fined £10,000.

" 'Bramhall used an argon beam coagulator, which seals bleeding blood vessels with an electric beam, to mark his initials on the organs, ' the AP writes".

It is usually not harmful and the marks would normally disappear but the woman in question's liver did not heal itself in the normal manner and the initials were found in a follow-up operation, it is alleged.

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 created to relieve tension during surgery. The offences relate to the incidents on 9 February and 21 August 2013.

"The Associated Press reports that a prosecutor called the case 'without legal precedent in criminal law'".

Cell phone pictures were taken of the branding, and Bramhall later admitted to the act.

An internal investigation into his conduct revealed that another patient got the same treatment, with the surgeon's initials branded on her liver. He now works for the NHS in Herefordshire.

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said one of the two victims was left feeling "violated" and suffered ongoing psychological harm.

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A leading British liver surgeon has been spared jail after he admitted branding his initials onto the livers of two patients.

Frank Ferguson, head of special crime at the CPS, said: "As far as we know it's a unique case in terms of the facts and demonstrates really the vulnerability of patients and the degree of trust they place in their surgeons when they are having an operation and the importance that that trust is protected and respected by doctors".

Judge Paul Farrer QC said Bramhall had used the argon beam coagulator - created to seal bleeding blood vessels - to carry out an "an abuse of power" and a betrayal of trust.

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". Bramhall claimed the stunt was meant to relieve tension during surgery.

Judge Paul Farrer QC, presiding over the case, reckoned that both liver transplant operations were hard and long, which likely made the surgeon stressed and exhausted, clouding his judgement.

Bramhal is due to be sentenced by Judge Paul Farrer QC on Friday morning.

"What you did was an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust that these patients had invested in you".