I am an altruistic kidney donor and am appalled at the treatment of Simon Bramhall, the surgeon who initialled two livers in transplant operations (Surgeon fined £10,000 for signing his initials on livers of two transplant patients, 12 January).
I am particularly incensed at the comments of the judge and the whingeing of Patient A. For the judge to call it “an abuse of power and betrayal of trust” borders on the ludicrous.
If anything, they were acts of elation after two very difficult successful operations – the equivalent of a footballer pulling off his jersey after scoring a great goal.
And for Patient A to suffer an “overwhelming feeling of violation” is beyond ludicrous. Mr Bramhall had just saved your life! He did nothing to you. It was not your liver. It was the liver of a dead person who bequeathed it to you: a final act of great generosity. Where is your generosity?
If my brilliant Sheffield surgeon, Mr Shrestha, had initialled my kidney I would have been delighted. It would have been a celebration of a successful partnership between a gifted doctor and a donor to give someone a better life.
What has happened to this country that people take exception so easily, and any deviation from the norm draws so much approbation?
• In sentencing former Queen Elizabeth hospital surgeon Simon Bramhall, Judge Paul Farrer QC described those actions, which resulted in no physical harm, as “conduct born of professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour”.
Less than two years ago, your newspaper highlighted the Care Quality Commission’s damning report into cardiac surgery at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, estimating that 17 patients may have died unnecessarily as a result of the hospital’s failure to heed repeated patient safety warnings.
Yet no member of the hospital’s executive team has been held to account for their failings.
The contrast is striking: we are forced to conclude that, even where patient safety is at stake, there is one rule for the individual clinician, another for his or her organisation.
Less than five years since the publication of his report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS foundation trust public inquiry, the words of another QC, Robert Francis, appear to have already been forgotten.
Dr Richard Horton
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