Mr Ferguson said Bramhall was a “very respected” surgeon to whom many patients owed their lives. But asked about the doctor’s motive, he said: “I can’t speak in terms of why he did that. Clearly he did not anticipate that it would be seen, I would suggest, but there was further surgery and he may not have understood how long it was likely to last.

Mr Ferguson said in one of the cases, the victim had suffered psychological harm.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said he used a medical instrument called an argon beam coagulator – which seals bleeding blood vessels by directing a beam of electricity on to the area – to inscribe two patients’ livers as they were under general anaesthetic.

Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital issued a statement yesterday saying: “The Trust is clear that Mr Bramhall made a mistake and this has been dealt with via the appropriate authorities, including the Trust as his then employer.

Mr Ferguson said he did not anticipate any further charges and there was no evidence Bramhall’s colleagues covered up his actions. He resigned from the hospital in 2014.

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