A British transplant surgeon allegedly branded his initials on a patient’s liver during an operation.
Another doctor reportedly spotted the initials during a follow-up procedure on the patient.
The surgeon in question has been identified in multiple media accounts as Simon Bramhall, who has worked at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, for about 10 years, and reportedly has performed hundreds of transplants.
The initials “SB” were allegedly branded on the liver with non-toxic argon gas. “Using the gas beam would cause superficial burns but would not cause serious damage, medical experts said. The gas is usually used for sealing blood vessels.”
The hospital did not identify anyone by name but announced in a statement that “Following an allegation of misconduct, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust has suspended a surgeon while an internal investigation is completed.”
As reported by the London Telegraph, according to an inside source commenting on the liver branding allegation, “It is quite astonishing to think someone may have done this, especially someone as experienced at Mr Bramhall.I am hoping this is just a mistake, I don’t know what would possess someone to do that to another human being…There should be trust between the two people, although now people may think otherwise about coming to the hospital if the allegations are true.I’m just a little shocked that something like this may have happened right under everyone’s noses. Imagine if the person died and was an organ donor, would the new owner of that liver want it to be branded? I doubt it very much. It could have happened hundreds of times, who knows? It was just luck that this incident was brought to light.”
Dr. Bramhall has denied that he was suspended by the hospital according to UK media.
Do you think it’s plausible that any surgeon would actually brand or sear his initials into a patient’s liver or any other body organ as if he was marking out territory?
[Queen Elizabeth Hospital image credit: Tony Hisgett]