Doctor Who Branded His Initials On Livers Of Patients Is Given No Jail Time By English Court

We have been discussing the outrageous acts of Simon Bramhall, 53, who branded with his initials on the livers of patients.  In a clearly insufficient sentence, Bramhall has received no jail time and simply a 12-month community order and fined £10,000. He was allowed to plead guilty in the Birmingham Crown Court to two counts of assault by beating.

Bramhall was working as a liver transplant surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital when he used an argon beam coagulator to burn his initials into the livers in 2013.

It is not clear what it takes to get jail time in England if this does not merit even a short stint.  This doctor used his authority over unconscious patients to abuse them.  It is also not clear why others have not joined in the punishment since he had to have done with with the knowledge of others who failed to take appropriate actions.

Hopefully, the patients will be able to sue civilly for the obvious acts of battery and infliction of emotional distress.

If the patients were not harmed by the branding, they were still victims of the abuse.  One victim referred to feeling that she had been raped.  I would have given Bramhall a sentence in the range of 6 months to a year as a minimum punishment.

What do you think would be appropriate?


66 thoughts on “Doctor Who Branded His Initials On Livers Of Patients Is Given No Jail Time By English Court”

  1. JT says: “It is not clear what it takes to get jail time in England if this does not merit even a short stint.”

    Incorrect. It is VERY clear what can get you jail time in England. Simple say something in public that could be considered disparaging to Muslims, especially after they’ve committed some heinous crime in the name of their “religion.” Simon Bramhall was simply “expressing” himself, in an Islamic sort of way.

    But to prove my point:

  2. Another story from the English…(and you thought branding livers was bad)…

    Body parts now taken from living children
    Last updated at 18:10pm on 26th January 2001

    The hospital at the center of a scandal over the stockpiling of babies’ organs today faced a fresh barrage of criticism after admitting that it gave a pharmaceutical company body parts from living children in return for financial donations.

  3. The patients should join together and buy some Klan outfits from that place in Ireland which sells them. Then wait for him to get off work and kidnap him. Each victim can tatoo their initials on his forehead and then put the date (tatoo) on his penis.

  4. The incompetent socialized health system in the UK has cancelled all elective surgeries for several months while they focus only on emergency surgeries, because of a SHORTAGE of surgeons. The govt. screws up everything it controls.

    1. It’s true. I’ve been reading about the healthcare crisis in UK. In addition, patients have had a higher risk of dying over the weekend, due to neglect, in UK hospitals for years.

  5. Why jail time? It prevents a competent surgeon from helping people. A better solution is to allow the Doctor and his patients to settle on a cash payment that satisfies both parties.

  6. One could presume this surgeon’s decision to apply his initials onto these patients stemmed from hubris or excessive pride. More likely than not I believe.

    A cardiologist I know described a similar aspect of the doctor / patient relationship to what henacynflin commented below. He told me that many of his colleges and others seemed to value their work and surgery more than they did the relationship with the patients–some to the point where they admired their own skill and liked the work, If only they could do so without the patient.

    On another note, years ago I needed to have reconstructive surgery on both jaws. The referring physician said to me the surgeon performing the procedure “Had a lower bedside manner and was quite arrogant.” My response was to the effect of: “Good. I want his ego so invested in performing a perfect surgery that it would be a great success.” Bragging rights sometimes are good if the patient benefits. So in this regard, had the surgeon not been so invasive with branding the liver but wanted such a perfect surgery that he could take a photo of the transplanted liver, frame it, and place it on his wall to show off, perhaps his vanity is meritorious.

    1. It is true that surgeons are infamous for having no bedside manner. They prefer their patients unconscious. That has no bearing on their skill. I’d prefer an abrasive, blunt, brilliant surgeon (think House) over a pleasant, incompetent one.

      It was branding the organ that went too far. It created unnecessary injury, even a superficial one, on a transplant organ, betrayed the patient’s trust, and went against his oath. It was an invasion.

      I would be pleased if a surgeon was so proud of his handiwork that he kept a framed photo of it on his office, as long as there was no identifying information. That means the outcome went well. But I would have chased him from the hospital if he’d branded me. I know a few people with branding irons and freeze brands that would serve in a little quid pro quo.

      1. Karen S – the problem with House is that he is going to almost kill you at least once before he gets the right diagnosis. Have you noticed that? He needed a minder.

  7. Sounds like the doctor and/or hospital administrators, and the judge went to the same university. The ‘old boy’ routine in England does exist and is a solid part of how the country operates. The connections stemming from four years at the same college at Oxford or Cambridge include info that binds, obligates, and enhances careers.

    1. You don’t actually know anybody who uses marijuana, do you?

      Making Stuff Up again.

      1. David Benson – I know people who have and use their medical marijuana cards. Personally, I have smoked it, inhaled and it affected me. However, it is too harsh on my lungs and I didn’t like the loss of control.

        1. I tried Marijuana for pain. Followed the directions to smoke and never felt a thing. Finally tried an edible chocolate bar. Worked great, but $20 a bar was too steep. My husband was all for it because I suffered so with back pain. Back to Percocet. Maybe chocolate bars will be cheaper now that it’s legal in CA. People are going to go overboard and become a danger to everyone else.

          1. Sandi Hemming – it depends on how many of those magic brownies you eat. 🙂

          2. I don’t know about it being cheaper. Some places in CA are taxing marijuana 30%.

            I’m also concerned about this latest phenomenon, “scromiting”, where a patient who has used marijuana 5 times a day for at least 2 years will suffer intense and lasting episodes where they scream and vomit at the same time, for hours. Burning anything creates carcinogens and other irritants, so I would not be surprised if research discovers a link between toking and cancer. They have already discovered it leads to reduced lung function. I do not think that smoking anything is a good medical delivery; other methods would be better and more dosage controlled.

            I’ve worried for years that if they keep making marijuana stronger and stronger, they were going to ruin the relative benignity of the drug. It used to be an herbal sedative. Something has changed, because if all it took was heavy use for a couple of years to induce scromiting, then it would have been epidemic in the 60’s and 70’s.

            Maybe it’s not the higher THC levels, but something in a fertilizer they are using. Highly toxic neonicotinoids, for example, are taken up by a plant and become permanently part of its cellular makeup. It cannot be washed off. This new side effect needs to be investigated.

            Pot absolutely has medical applications. I wonder if insurance will cover some of the resulting medications, especially for pain.

  8. This is the consequence of the excessive paternalism in UK medicine. Doctors do not see themselves as servants to the patient as there is no individual contract been them. They, and their colleagues, feel they own their patients and some of this feeling of professional omnipotence was shared by the judge at the time of sentencing

    1. And you know this how?

      I rented a house from a doctor in Edinburgh for a year. He struck me as fully professional.

  9. Every person in the operating room should have been fined and given prison time. This quack should have had his medical license revoked and he should have had to serve at least two years per incident. I am going to reblog this article for you sir.

    1. Fortunately the judge listened to all the relevant testimony before setting the sentence.

      Justice, not retribution.

  10. The article makes no mention that the good doctor, or his accomplices, lost their medical licenses. Nothing. No mention as to whether the body or entity, issuing medical licenses, did anything. I wonder whether the commonplace practices, across the pond, of failing to shower daily, change clothing and regularly use deodorant–where the b.o. surrounding the lot of them can be cut with a knife–have finally started to affect their capacity to see clearly.

  11. What struck me is that he did this to patients – plural. An entire operating suite of personnel did not stop him, and he was allowed to operate on a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on patient.

    It is reprehensible to even superficially injury a precious organ during a transplant. Someone died and provided that organ. Someone will die if they do not receive it, or reject it – and he purposely burned his initials into it???

    He deserved to lose his license and get jail time. Anyone who stood by and did nothing aided and abetted malpractice. They cannot be trusted, either.

    The entire act of surgery is a monumental act of trust. The patient agrees to voluntarily be put unconscious, hoping he or she will wake up alive and better than when they started. They trust the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, the OR nurses with their life. It’s a fearful, helpless situation for a patient. Everyone involved betrayed that trust, and should not be allowed to practice again.

    This was a miscarriage of justice. Surgical patients in UK, take note.

    1. As best I understand this bizarre matter there was no harm to the function of the replacement liver.

      1. Mutilation. Yes. Mutilation of an internal organ. The function or replacement of the organ is irrelevant. He, along with his sick cohorts, mutilated a vital organs belonging to a patient. And, in your great wisdom, you know that said mutilation will have no long-lasting effects? You are a liver expert? You really don’t seem to be firing on all fours.

        1. No, I only know what I have read. But I stand by what I wrote.

          Roughly, livers are tough. That organ has to be.

          1. Mr. Benson,
            I’m trying to follow your train of thought and you seem particularly dismissive of two obvious facts. 1. There was no prescribed medical purpose for him to burn his initials into the patients transplanted liver. 2. He did not have permission from the patient to do it.

            Livers are tough? As best I understand this bizarre matter there was no harm to the function of the replacement liver. Using your logic, if a woman is sexually assaulted and has no lasting physical harm to the function her vagina, then no harm, no foul.

            Justice, not retribution. So how did the victim get justice?

      2. The fact that no actual physical harm appeared at the time of use is not an affirmative defense. It is medical malpractice at a minimum and malicious wounding at most.

        The largest organ in the human body is the skin. If a dermatologist branded his initials on the surface of the skin it is the same assault against an organ of the body as it would be for a spleen or other part. Certainly the branding is not completely without risk. From my lay and cursory search for complications of the device I came across this article . Though it is not the same organ, it does show that the use of this device is not without risk of harm.

        Moreover, the crime of assault or battery does not completely require that physical injury occur. In fact, causing fear, humiliation or distress through an unlawful touching of the person can be sufficient to satisfy an element of assault. In this case one of the victims proffered they were emotionally scarred by the wounding.

      3. David – that’s good news, although lucky. If he was already cauterizing the area, he may have added a bit. He may have felt the risk was low. I think that he had no right to add a fraction of risk to an already risky procedure. To even superficially harm an organ for no other reason than an autograph is abhorrent.

        What an uncomfortable feeling, to know that your internal organ is permanently branded with a strange man’s name. It will heal, but the brand is permanent.

        1. Karen – if you get a boob job, each of the implants is numbered. Hip replacement, numbered, etc. Is he doing anything that has not already been done?

            1. Olly – I am wondering about the idea of dating replacements for tracking purposes.

              1. If there is a legitimate purpose for it, then put it in as part of the protocol and inform the patient.

          1. Seriously, Paul? You are being, serious? Implants may have serial numbers for any number of reasons. The patient knows that, going in, for what is, routinely, elective surgery. OBJECTS, Paul. OBJECTS, already containing identifiers. Not objects, burnished with initials or gang symbols, by a demented and dangerous surgeon implanting the fun bags. That is light years away from what transpired here. If you weren’t so hell-bent on being a contrarian, you would admit that tagging a vital organ, which a surgeon has been charged with transplanting, just so that the surgeon can showboat for his other brain-damaged colleagues bearing scalpels, is beyond the scope of decency. That kind of a surgery, where doctors must transplant an organ of another, is fraught with numerous dangers and risks. The surgeon is not allowed to do anything–anything–which is not medically necessary, under the circumstances, much less, laser his mark onto the organ for laughs or ego. You are clueless as to what the ramifications of this act can or will do in the future and how it may affect the organ down the road. Human organs are not supposed to be tagged with initials. Period. For some odd reason, you are off in la la land, spouting off about breast implants having serial numbers. No relation, whatsoever. I’d yank the medical licenses of these bozos, so fast, their heads would spin. They seem to be skating, unscathed. What does it take for you, Paul, personally, to appreciate the gravity or severity of this prank. . .one performed more than once? Does it need to happen to you, or a loved one, who maybe dies on the table from a joke gone awry, before it actually registers? Joan Rivers–God rest her soul–died from some @$$hole stepping outside of the bounds of what he should have been doing on that fateful day. She didn’t die because of what she was supposed to have performed. . .she died from what was not supposed to have been performed. She died from hijinks. Yes, Paul, it happens when people f#!k around. I spoke with a friend, a physician, keenly aware of exactly what caused her death, as he works in the same field. He explained that her death was completely avoidable. Another case of a doctor or doctors, showboating, and it cost her her life.

        2. I, at least, don’t know if it is permanent. A liver is not skin so there is no analogy.

          I assume the laser is used, instead of stitching, to attach blood vessels.

      1. Thank God it wasn’t more people. Thank you for letting me know the tally, as I didn’t find it in the post.

        I agree with Darren that this was an assault. A man (or woman) branding his initials into anyone is usually viewed as such, and I don’t see any difference when the wound is internal. He did not own these people.

        I also take strong objection to adding even a fraction of risk to a transplant surgery for the reasons stated above.

    1. ModernMiner – I’m pretty sure Dr. Frankenstein did not have any laser equipment. 😉

  12. Plenty of individuals are in need of a liver. Easy solution: his liver should be forceably removed, sans anesthesia, along with the livers belonging to the turds who participated in these monstrous and obscene behaviors, and said livers should be given to those in desperate need of a transplant. The disgusting behavior, performed at the hands of trained physicians, entrusted with the lives and safety of our loved ones, need to lose the organ that they graffiti-ed in the unsuspecting patients. Pretty simple, actually. No need for jail time. Forced removal of the organ, in question, will do, just fine.

  13. Large payments to the victims seems appropriate to me. I have become much less convinced of the efficacy of gaol time, yes, that is jail time, in causing anything useful, just retribution.

    1. Perhaps, before you chime in about screwed up the system in the US, you should take a closer examination of the travesties of justice, across the pond, where physicians are given a green light to treat their patients and their organs as mere canvases for graffiti and their own perverse enjoyment. Your country, as evidenced by your feckless leaders and impotent courts, has dissolved and morphed into a spineless and toothless ball of putty. You, unfortunately, are the dim-witted type, who fails, consistently, to appreciate the gravity of most offenses since it is not connected to you. You will continue your incessant dribble about retrubution, blah, blah, blah. . .

        1. The Book of Matthew is irrelevant to the discussion. Your courts don’t follow the Book of Matthew. Try to stay focused.

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