UK surgeon fined for burning initials into patients′ livers | News | DW | 12.01.2018
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UK surgeon fined for burning initials into patients' livers

Before sentencing, the judge condemned surgeon Simon Bramhall's behavior, calling it an abuse of power. The surgeon quit his job in Birmingham and took up work at a hospital outside of London.

A British surgeon was fined and ordered to perform community service after admitting that he burnt his initials into the livers of two transplant patients.

Simon Bramhall used an argon beam machine to burn his initials on to the livers of two anesthetized patients in February and August 2013. The machine acts as coagulator that seals bleeding blood vessels with an electric beam.

Bramhall told police it was a misguided attempt to relieve tension in the operating room. A prosecutor criticized the surgeon, saying his actions were "without legal precedent in criminal law."

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"What you did was an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust that these patients had invested in you," Judge Paul Farrer told him at Birmingham Crown Court.

Judge shows leniency

Farrer fined Bramhall £10,000 ($13,650, €11,250) and sentenced him to 12 months of unpaid community work.

"Both of the (transplant) operations were long and difficult," Farrer said.

"I accept that on both occasions you were tired and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgment," the judge continued. "This was conduct born of professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behavior.

"I accept that you didn't intend or foresee anything but the most trivial of harm would be caused."

Doctor is reprimanded

Bramhall, 53, resigned from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, about 110 miles (175 km) northwest of London, in 2014. He was given a formal reprimand by the General Medical Council, a professional governing body, last February.

He is now a surgeon at the state-run National Health Service in Hertfordshire, just north of London.

Bramhall's initials, which measured 1.5 inches (4 cm), were subsequently spotted by another surgeon.

"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. "There was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes."

bik/sms (AFP, AP)

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