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Surgeon who branded his initials on patients' organs fined thousands

13 January 2018

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said he used a medical instrument called an argon beam coagulator - which seals bleeding blood vessels by directing a beam of electricity on to the area - to inscribe two patients' livers as they were under general anaesthetic.

"The internal graffiti very likely did not cause any damage, The Guardian reports: 'The marks left by argon are not thought to impair the organ's function and usually disappear by themselves'".

One of the 4cm-high sets of initials was found by another surgeon after a victim, referred to in court as Patient A, returned for further treatment around a week after undergoing a transplant.

Prosecutors accepted his not guilty pleas to the more serious charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

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

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"Mr. Bramhall made a mistake in the context of a complex clinical situation and this has been dealt with via the appropriate authorities, said a statement released by The Queen Elizabeth Hospital".

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

"He also said that in hindsight this was naive and foolhardy - a misjudged attempt to relieve the tension in theatre".

The consultant has been sentenced to a 12-month community order and fined £10,000 at Birmingham Crown Court.

The surgeon resigned from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in 2014 after another doctor discovered what he had done when one of the transplants had failed, for reasons unrelated to the branding.

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"It was what I would imagine the feeling is for someone who is a victim of rape", she said.

Defence barrister Michael Duck QC said: "A number of people who sit in this court are able to sit in this court because of the skill of Mr Bramhall".

An argon beam machine is created to seal bleeding blood vessels. The court heard that Bramhall later told police he had "flicked his wrist" and made the mark within a few seconds.

Passing sentence, Judge Paul Farrer QC reportedly said: "Both of the (transplant) operations were long and hard".

Bramhall claimed he had been "tired" during the surgeries, but Judge Paul Farrer said he had shown "professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour", according to media. I accept that on both occasions you were exhausted and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgment. "There was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes".

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Surgeon who branded his initials on patients' organs fined thousands