Brand me at your peril, doctor

3 minute read

Surgery’s loss is literature’s gain. Not.

Apparently there’s a British surgeon – well, ex-surgeon, for reasons that will become clear – who is doing the rounds trying to flog his latest self-published novel, which is called Letterman.

It’s called Letterman because it’s about a surgeon who got caught tattooing his own initials on the transplanted liver he’d just sewn into a patient.

The author is a bloke called Simon Bramhall, who was a renowned hepato-pancreato-biliary surgeon at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in the UK. You’ll be unsurprised to learn that Dr Bramhall got caught tattooing his initials onto the livers of two transplant patients. It took 10 years for this idiot to get struck off, mind you.

But that’s okay. He’s making decent coin off his novels, so we shouldn’t feel too sorry for him.

(Coincidentally, I was born in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, thousands of years ago. I don’t think the two events are related, but nothing would surprise me, frankly.)

You can read the full interview with Bramhall Esquire here. He’s quite clearly an arse.

When I posted the article in TMR’s work intranet for shits and giggles, one of my colleagues said she wasn’t quite sure how she felt about it.

Personally, when I read it I got instant NXIVM vibes.

NXIVM was a cult founded in upstate New York in 1998 by a skeezy little conman and sex offender called Keith Raniere, since banged up for a very long time.

Apart from being a pyramid scheme which ripped millions out of gullible folks’ pockets, NXIVM also spawned a subgroup called DOS, a secret society of NXIVM women who were branded with Raniere’s initials, blackmailed with their own nude photos and forced into sex slavery.


It’s the branding that got me. The whole “ownership” vibe. You brand cattle to show who they belong to, after all.

Now, I’m not in any way suggesting Dr Bramhall runs a cult, okay? Nevertheless, it’s a sleazy vibe.

Even though Dr B says he got a bit distracted and was testing the argon beam coagulator and ended up burning his initials into the liver, I suspect that there was a bit of pride in ownership going on.

Makes you wonder how many livers he actually branded. It’s hard to believe the two he got reported for were the only ones.

I had a surgeon leave a bit of tubing in me once. Now I’m beginning to wonder if that wasn’t accidental and just a bit of personalised accessorising. Ugh.

I am not any surgeon’s possession. So best not be branding me, doctor, or I’ll sue the Italian tailored pants off you.

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