‘Our NHS’ – Surgeon Who Branded Patients’ Organs with His Initials Not Struck Off

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A surgeon convicted for branding patients’ internal organs with his initials has not been struck off.

The General Medical Council had been pushing for 55-year-old Simon Bramhall, formerly a consultant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, be struck off, but the Medical Practitioners Tribunal decided that this would not be “appropriate”.

Bramhall, it was decided, had etched his initials onto the livers of his patients with an argon beam machine because he was behaving “out of character at a time of work-related stress.”

The physician’s bizarre behaviour was only discovered after one of the transplanted organs he had graced with his “signature” failed around a week later, according to the Telegraph, earning him a criminal conviction — although only for common assault, incurring a soft community sentence with no time in custody.

“Mr Bramhall has taken responsibility for his actions, pleaded guilty to common assault at the earliest opportunity, demonstrated genuine remorse and sought to apologise,” the Medical Practitioners Tribunal suggested.

“Mr Bramhall’s assault convictions are not fundamentally incompatible with continued registration, taking account of all the circumstances, guidance and relevant principles. It thus did not consider erasure [from the medical register] to be an appropriate or proportionate response,” it added, plumping for a mere five-month suspension.

The surgeon is not the first doctor to be allowed to continue practising in the United Kingdom in dubious circumstances, however.

In 2017, for example, the Tribunal declined to strike off Pakistani doctor Imran Rauf Qureshi, a sex offender who blamed his offences on “the culture norms [being] different in the UK from Pakistan”, despite conceding there was “not insignificant risk of harm to another individual by a repetition of [his] behaviour.”

The same year, a Dr Joanne Rowe, then a General Practitioner (GP) in Newport, Wales, was allowed to continue practising after turning away a 5-year-old girl with a serious medical condition from an emergency appointment because she was just four minutes late — due to a long queue at the reception — leading to her death later that day.

Rowe, described as being “volatile” and prone to “repeated angry outbursts” by junior staff, was suspended for just six months — on full pay.

Then in 2018, a Dr Vaishnavy Laxman, who qualified in India, was not even given a formal warning after ripping off a baby’s head during labour after insisting on going ahead with a natural delivery during a breech birth over the objections of the mother, despite her having been assured she would receive a caesarean.

Nevertheless, the Conservative-led government said it would reduce regulators’ powers to sanction negligent clinicians in 2018.

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