A surgeon who left his initials on his patients’ livers has pled guilty to two charges of assault by beating.
Simon Bramhall, a liver, spleen and pancreas surgeon, carried out the branding in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in 2013. He used an argon beam, a device used by surgeons to prevent bleeding and sometimes to mark where to operate on an organ.
Bramhall pled guilty at the Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday, but pled not guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm. He will be sentenced on January 12.
He was caught when another surgeon at the hospital discovered the initials, SB, on a liver during a follow-up surgery in 2013. Marks made by an argon beam tend to disappear over time, but in this case, it did not heal.
Prosecutor Tony Badenoch said it was a “highly unusual and complex case, both within the expert medical testimony served by both sides and in law. It is factually, so far as we have been able to establish, without legal precedent in criminal law,” the Guardian reports.
He added that what Bramhall did was not an isolated incident, and that it was “not just ethically wrong, but criminally wrong.”
“It was an intentional application of unlawful force to a patient whilst anaesthetised,” Badenoch said. “His acts in marking the livers of those patients were deliberate and conscious acts.”