Transplant surgeon who burned his initials on patients’ livers could face a longer ban

A transplant surgeon who burned his initials on the livers of two patients could face a longer ban after the General Medical Council complained that a five-month suspension was ‘inadequate’

  • Simon Bramhall, 53, admitted to writing his initials on patients’ organs in 2013
  • He was working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham at the time
  • He was given a five-month suspension, a community order and a fine
  • However, the GMC appealed, calling the suspension “inadequate.”

Simon Bramhall, 53, admitted he used a laser to write his initials on the organs

A transplant surgeon who puts his initials on the livers of… two unconscious patients could now have their sentences increased after the General Medical Council complained that a five-month suspension was ‘inadequate’.

Judge of the Supreme Court Ms Justice Collins Rice ordered a new hearing from the Medical Practitioners Tribunal in Simon Bramhall’s case after considering a GMC appeal.

The judge, based in London, said a tribunal that adjudicated the case last year “didn’t exactly pinpoint what was and wasn’t wrong” with Mr Bramhall’s behaviour.

Bramhall, who is in his 50s and was a transplant surgeon with the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, was given a community order and a £10,000 fine by a Birmingham Crown Court judge in January 2018 after admitting two counts of beatings by beatings .

He told police he had used an argon-jet machine to initialize the organs to relieve tensions in the operating room after difficult and lengthy transplants in 2013.

Ms Justice Collins Rice was told that in December 2020 a Medical Practitioners Tribunal had imposed a five-month suspension on Bramhall’s medical record.

Lawyers for the GMC said the sanction was “inadequate to maintain public confidence” in the appeal.

The judge, who released a ruling online Tuesday after considering arguments at a Supreme Court hearing earlier this month, allowed the GMC’s appeal.

She said the case should be reconsidered by a new tribunal.

“The Medical Practitioners Tribunal has not pinpointed exactly what was and was not wrong with Mr Bramhall’s conduct and sanctioned it accordingly,” she said.

“It didn’t do justice to this unique case.

“On that basis, I allow this profession.

“I am convinced that the right way forward is to quash the sanctions enactment and refer the case back for a new decision by a different composed tribunal.”

Lawyers representing the GMC said a five-month suspension for Bramhall (left) was 'not enough to maintain public confidence in the profession'

Lawyers representing the GMC said a five-month suspension for Bramhall (left) was ‘not enough to maintain public confidence in the profession’

Ms Justice Collins Rice learned that the violations came to light when a patient had another liver surgery by another surgeon.

That surgeon saw and photographed “the tracks” and reported the matter to the trust’s medical director.

The judge said Bramhall had acknowledged the responsibility.

She said the facts of the case were “extremely unusual” and that there was a “deep ambivalence to face” about how Bramhall and his actions “should be properly considered by the responsible authorities”.

“On the one hand, what Mr Bramhall did was calculated to be harmless, as no physical damage was done beyond ‘transient,'” she said.

‘It was also calculatedly unimportant: the patients were not allowed to know.

“But on the other hand, this was a criminal, non-consensual physical interference.

“It had to be condemned as one of the most serious forms of common assault because of its multitude of aggravating features.

“One of his victims was certainly traumatized, and wrote forcefully to the court about her experience of being physically ‘violated’ in a sense she likened to sexual abuse or rape.”

She said Bramhall had denied “personal satisfaction” and accepted “arrogance” as an explanation.

He had also talked about ‘tension’, the effects of ‘work pressure on his own judgment’, and wanting to ‘relieve the intensity of the theater atmosphere’.

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