A medical governing board in the United Kingdom has revoked a doctor’s credentials from the country’s medical rolls after it was determined in a tribunal that he carved his initials into two patients’ livers during transplant surgeries.
Simon Bramhall was performing organ transplant surgery on two different patients in two incidents nearly a decade ago when he reportedly carved his initials into both of their livers at the end of their operations. The two separate horrific incidents reportedly occurred in February 2013 and August 2013.
According to BBC News, the 1.6-inch tall initials were discovered by another doctor who was performing surgery on one of the patients in the weeks after the initial incident when another transplanted organ had failed. The discovery led to an investigation into Bramhall’s actions, with the U.K.’s Medical Practice Tribunal Service reviewing the now-former doctor’s work across his entire career.
Initially, Bramhall resigned from his surgery job at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the city of Birmingham back in 2014. Three years later, in 2017, the MPTS came forth with their determination after the disgraced doc pleaded guilty to two counts of common assault in the case.
At the time, according to MPTS documents, Bramhall admitted that he “foolishly made a mark on the adjacent liver” and acknowledged that his actions in those two surgeries “were stupid and entirely wrong.” The MPTS, which exists to adjudicate malpractice complaints against doctors in the country, punished him with a £10,000 fine and a community service decree.
The organization invited the doctor to have his case reviewed three years later, in December of 2020. In that hearing, Bramhall’s lawyer argued that the former physician’s “fitness to practice was no longer impaired.” As part of the argument, the doctor’s legal team stated (below):
“This case had never been about his surgical skills. Rather it was about Mr. Bramhall’s lack of respect for the dignity of the patients.”
Yeah, uhhh, and that’s still a HUGE problem?!
MPTS initially agreed with the lawyer’s argument, and acknowledged there was “no discernible risk” that Bramhall would repeat the awful incidents from 2013. With it, the org (temporarily) reinstated the doctor’s right to practice medicine — until Monday.
In another hearing on Monday, the org acknowledged that Bramhall’s 2013 actions caused one of the involved patients “significant emotional harm.” So, the governing body decided to immediately re-suspend his license to practice medicine, stating he was “in gross violation of his patients’ dignity and autonomy.”
The doctor now has 28 days to appeal the most recent suspension. Here is more on the surgeon’s career and the branding controversy after his initial plea and fine, from 5 News (below):
There’s a lot of back and forth with all the legal maneuvering here, but at least one thing should be clear: it’s absolutely despicable that any medical professional would think to do something like brand a patient’s organs during surgery.
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