Health & Fitness

Surgeon Banned After Burning His Initials On Patients’ Livers With ‘Argon Beam’

  • Feb 12, 2024
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Surgeon Banned After Burning His Initials On Patients’ Livers With ‘Argon Beam’

It’s a well-known fact that men are shelling out more of their hard-earned cash for cosmetic surgery — arguably too much, if you ask this Aussie drag queen who got stopped at border control — but while you may want your plastic surgeon to show a little flair during your procedure, the same can’t generally be said for serious surgery on your internal organs…

And yet, that didn’t stop one now-disgraced surgeon from flexing on a couple of his patients in a shocking breach of medical ethics. After going viral on Reddit earlier this week, the incidents — which originally took place in 2013 but only saw the surgeon finally struck off in 2022 — are quite frankly mind-boggling, especially from a surgeon being paid out of the public purse.

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Simon Bramhall was permanently removed from the medical register after admitting to using an argon beam machine to etch his initials onto the livers of two of his patients during his tenure at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2013, drawing condemnation from the public and colleagues alike while raising serious questions about professional conduct within the wider medical community.

TIL A surgeon in the UK used an argon beam to brand his initials onto transplanted livers of two of his patients
byu/amusedfridaygoat intodayilearned

Described by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) as stemming from “professional arrogance,” Bramhall’s behaviour significantly eroded public trust in UK healthcare providers at a time when it was already in something of a low ebb.

Despite the lack of lasting physical harm to the patients, the emotional toll and breach of dignity were profound, with one patient saying that they experienced “significant emotional harm” as a result.

Bramhall was initially fined £10,000 (c. A$19,400) in December 2017 following his admission of two counts of assault at Birmingham Crown Court. However, this punishment was deemed insufficient by the General Medical Council (GMC), leading to an indefinite suspension and his eventual removal from the medical register.

Bramhall’s career, which had apparently been “distinguished” until these misdemeanours came to light, crashed to a controversial end when his somewhat unconventional autograph was discovered on an organ by another doctor.

The case has since sparked a broader discussion on the boundaries of surgeon behaviour and the mechanisms in place to ensure appropriate boundaries are respected. It’s a stark warning to medical professionals everywhere: the privilege of providing patient care comes with a duty to uphold the highest ethical standards, where personal hubris has no place.


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