Surgeon Who Carved His Initials Into Patients' Livers Pleads Guilty to Assault

A British surgeon has been charged after he left his mark on two of his patients.

Dr. Simon Bramhall, 53, is accused of branding “SB” on the livers of a male and female patient undergoing transplant operations, the Telegraph reports. He is said to have made the marks using an argon laser, which is used to stop bleeding during liver surgeries and to sketch out the area of an operation. Bramhall’s initials were discovered after the female patient’s liver failed to properly heal and he underwent a follow-up operation.

“This has been a highly unusual and complex case, both within the expert medical testimony served by both sides and in law,” prosecutor Tony Badenoch said. “It is factually, so far as we have been able to establish, without legal precedent in criminal law."

Bramhall admitted to two counts of assault by beating, but pleaded not guilty to charges of assault causing bodily harm.

“The pleas of guilty now entered represent an acceptance that that which he did was not just ethically wrong but criminally wrong,” Bradenoch continued in 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.”

Bramhall was a liver, spleen and pancreatic surgeon who worked at the liver unit within the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, West Midlands, for 12 years. He resigned in 2014 following a hospital disciplinary hearing.

He is expected to be sentenced on Jan. 12.