Surgeon admits assault after carving initials into patients' livers during operations


A surgeon has admitted assaulting two patients by marking his initials on their livers during transplant operations.

Simon Bramhall, 53, admitted two counts of assault by beating at Birmingham Crown Court.

The surgeon pleaded not guilty to alternative charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, which were accepted by prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC who said the case was “without legal precedent in criminal law”.

Bramhall, who appeared in the dock wearing a pink shirt and dark suit, was granted unconditional bail until he is sentenced on January 12.

The surgeon was allowed to stand in front of the dock as he pleaded guilty to assaulting a patient, whose name is protected by a court order, during an operation in August 2013. He also entered a guilty plea relating to an operation performed on an unknown patient in February of the same year.

‘Ethically and criminally wrong’ – the court heard Bramhall’s had shown no regard for his unconscious patients’ feelings (Picture: PA)

Mr Badenoch told the court that Bramhall was employed as a consultant surgeon in Birmingham at the time of the transplant operations and that both patients had been under anaesthetic.

The offence of assault by beating was brought against him to reflect the act of marking the liver and there is no suggestion that he was responsible for physically “beating” either patient.


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“The pleas of guilty now entered represent an acceptance that that which he did was not just ethically wrong but criminally wrong,” Mr Badenoch told the court.

“They reflect the fact that Dr Bramhall’s initialling on a patient’s liver was not an isolated incident but rather a repeated act on two occasions, requiring some skill and concentration. It was done in the presence of colleagues.”

Sentence – Bramhall will return to court in January when he will be sentenced (Picture: PA)

The prosecutor said the offences had been carried out with a disregard for the feelings of unconscious patients, adding: “It was an intentional application of unlawful force to a patient whilst anaesthetised.

“His acts in marking the livers of those patients were deliberate and conscious acts.”

Adjourning the case for a pre-sentence report, Judge Paul Farrer told Bramhall: “For reasons that you are aware of, I am not going to sentence you today.

“The prosecution need to do further work. Your legal team need to do further work in terms of completing the documents that you wish to place before me in due course.”