A U.K. surgeon known for literally making his mark on patients had his license to practice medicine formally revoked this week.
Simon Bramhall, 57, admitted to using an argon beam coagulator — a common device used in surgeries to control bleeding — to autograph his initials on patients' livers in 2013 while working at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, BBC News reported.
On Monday, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) officially struck the once-respected liver, spleen, and pancreas surgeon off the country's medical register. The ruling means that Bramhall can no longer work as a doctor in the U.K.
MPTS records reportedly showed that Bramhall was first suspended in 2013 for marking his "SB" initials on two patients' livers during operations in February and August of that year.
One of the autographs, made on a female patient receiving a liver transplant, was reportedly spotted by a consultant surgeon when the patient returned to the hospital for a follow-up surgery a week later after the liver had failed.
According to the Guardian, the 4-centimeter branding was captured in a cell phone photograph. The outlet added that Bramhall at one time told police he branded the organs to relieve tensions during long and difficult transplant operations.
Records showed that neither patient suffered lasting physical damage as a result of the branding, though the female patient reportedly suffered "significant emotional harm."
In 2018, Bramhall was given a 12-month community order and fined £10,000 ($13,635) for the brazen actions after pleading guilty to common assault.
He was once again suspended in 2020 for five months after the MPTS concluded his actions amounted to "professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour." But in June 2020, the tribunal ruled the surgeon was no longer impaired and ordered that his suspension be revoked.
Bramhall wasn't in the clear yet, however. Upon another review this week, the tribunal finally determined that further suspension is “insufficient to protect the wider public interest” and said erasure from the medical register would be an “appropriate and proportionate sanction."
In a ruling, the tribunal reportedly said: “The physical assault of two vulnerable patients whilst unconscious in a clinical setting, one of whom experienced significant and enduring emotional harm, seriously undermines patients’ and the public’s trust and confidence in the medical profession and inevitably brings the profession as a whole into disrepute.”
“The tribunal rejected the submission made on behalf of Mr. Bramhall, that it was to relieve tension. It was an act borne out of a degree of professional arrogance," the ruling continued.
Bramhall resigned his job at the Birmingham hospital in 2014. According to USA Today, he was a well-respected surgeon who "received a series of titles and honors over the years" and served as a "lecturer at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, deputy director of the division of medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons."
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