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    Top UK Doctor Escapes Jail After Branding His Initials on Patients' Livers

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    British surgeon Simon Bramhall who admitted burning his initials on the livers of two of his patients has escaped a jail sentence after former patients spoke out in his defense.

    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 designed to relieve tension during surgery.

    Prosecutors described how he used an argon beam to put his initials on the livers of two anaesthetised patients at the end of transplant operations in February and August 2013.

    It was only when one of the livers failed — for reasons unconnected to Bramhall's actions —  another surgeon discovered "SB" burnt onto it and took a photo of the 4cm mark.

    Bramhall, who is world-renowned in his profession of specializing in liver, spleen and pancreas surgery, later resigned from his job at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2014.

    Psychological scars

    Birmingham Crown Court heard how one of the victims was left feeling "violated" and still suffers extreme psychological harm.

    In a victim impact statement, she said the moment she was shown the mark "will forever be etched on my mind".

    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."

    The court heard Bramhall later told police he had "flicked his wrist" and made the mark in a few seconds.

    "He knew that the action could cause no harm to the patient. He also said that in hindsight this was naive and foolhardy — a misjudged attempt to relieve the tension in theatre," said prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC.

    Community order

    Sentencing him on January 12, Judge Paul Farrer QC ordered he be given a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and fined him £10,000.

    He said: "I accept that on both occasions you were tired 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.

    "What you did was an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust that these patients had invested in you. I accept that you didn't intend or foresee anything but the most trivial of harm would be caused."

    A large number of former patients of Bramhall turned up at court to show their support and gratitude to him.

    In his defense, Bramhall was described as "one of the outstanding surgeons of his generation."

    Hope

    One of the patients supporting the surgeon told the court how she had been given just three months to live in 2006 when Simon Bramhall told her he would take the decks to operate on her 15cm tumour.

    "It was Mr Bramhall who gave me my first instincts of hope," Barbara Moss explained.

    Military surgeon Colonel Douglas Bowley also paid tribute to the work Bramhall has carried out on injured service personnel returning from the war in Afghanistan.

    Related:

    UK Surgeon Admits He Made a ‘Mistake' After Signing His Initials Inside Patients
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    surgeon, doctor, operation, britain, Birmingham
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