A British surgeon on Wednesday, plead guilty of marking the livers of two patients undergoing transplants at a hospital with his initials while his colleagues looked on.
According to the Telegraph UK, 53-year-old Simon Bramhall pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating after he used an electric beam — typically used to seal blood vessels — to mark “SB” into a man and woman’s livers during their transplant operations in 2013.
While doing so isn’t usually harmful, since the marks typically fade, the patient’s (a woman) liver did not heal normally. During her follow-up operation, doctors allegedly discovered Bramhall’s initials, the report said.
Bramhall worked as a liver, spleen and pancreatic surgeon for 12 years at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, West Midlands. He was suspended from the hospital shortly before Christmas in 2013 following the discovery of the markings, but was reinstated in April 2014, pending an internal investigation, after one of his patients told the Birmingham Mail that Bramhall’s suspension was “wrong”.
He resigned from the hospital in May 2014, citing stress-induced illness, according to the Birmingham Mail.
The case was “without legal precedent in criminal law,” prosecutor Tony Badenoch said of the offences that occurred at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
It was “not an isolated incident but rather a repeated act on two occasions, requiring some skill and concentration… done in the presence of colleagues,” he said, calling it a “highly unusual and complex” case.
Elizabeth Reid of the Crown Prosecution Service added in a statement: “Simon Bramhall was a respected surgeon who assaulted two of his patients while they were undergoing surgery. It was an intentional application of unlawful force to a patient while anaesthetised. Those assaults were wrong not just ethically, but also criminally. It was an abuse of the trust placed in him by the patients.”
Bramhall was granted bail and will be sentenced on January 12.