A surgeon in the UK has pleaded guilty to burning his initials onto the livers to two patients while performing liver transplants.
Simon Bramhall, who was working at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, admitted to the branding in Birmingham crown court on Wednesday, and pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating, the Guardian reports.
He pleaded not guilty to a more serious charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Bramhall was suspended from his position at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2013 after a colleague spotted the initials "SB" on the liver of one of his patients during a follow-up surgery.
Bramhall used an argon beam coagulator, which is used to seal bleeding blood vessels by burning them with an electric beam, to mark his initials on the organs. According to the Guardian, the marks made by the argon beam are not thought to impair the organs' functions.
The prosecutor on the case, Tony Badenoch, told the court that this case was unprecedented, the Gaurdian reports.
This is a “highly unusual and complex case, both within the expert medical testimony served by both sides and in law," Badenoch said. "It is factually, so far as we have been able to establish, without legal precedent in criminal law."
Bramhall's guilty plea, Badenoch continued, indicated that he accepts what he did was not only wrong ethically, but also criminally. "It was an intentional application of unlawful force to a patient whilst anesthetized. His acts in marking the livers of those patients were deliberate and conscious acts … It will be for others to decide whether and to what extent his fitness to practice is impaired," he said.
After pleading guilty, Bramhall is free on bail and will be sentenced on January 12, the Associated Press reports.
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