A UK surgeon who carved his initials into the livers of two patients was struck off the medical register Tuesday, The Guardian reported.
Surgeon Simon Bramhall, 57, admitted to using an argon beam machine to etch his initials into his patients’ organs on two occasions during 2013, while working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England.
That same year, after another surgeon saw the initials during follow-up surgery on one of his patients, Bramhall was suspended from his position as a consultant surgeon for the first time.
In 2014, he resigned from the Birmingham hospital amid an internal investigation into his conduct.
Then in 2018, he was convicted of assault, given a community order, and was also fined £10,000 (about $13,800)
But in December 2020, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) handed down a five-month suspension from the medical register. However, the General Medical Council appealed the decision because the sanction was insufficient to maintain public confidence in the profession, and the case was brought back to court for review.
At that time, the surgeon’s legal counsel argued that the former physician’s “fitness to practice was no longer impaired.” Adding “that 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,” CBS News reported.
So the MPTS agreed that there was no risk of a recurrence, and the order suspending him from practice was reversed.
But on Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022, the MPTS, after a review of the case, said the surgeon’s action was an “act born of a degree of professional arrogance” and “undermined” public confidence in the medical profession.
The court said, “The physical assault of two vulnerable patients while 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.”
Following the hearing, an immediate suspension was put in place, although the surgeon can appeal the suspension within 28 days.