A FORMER Birmingham based surgeon has today (28 April) been found guilty of carrying out unnecessary breast surgery on a number of patients in his care.
Ian Paterson used his position of trust and his reputation as a leading breast surgeon to convince his patients they were at high risk of developing breast cancer and needed surgery.
Although his motive remains unclear, it is believed Paterson may have been driven by financial gain, so he could claim payment for carrying out each procedure to fund his extravagant lifestyle.
As a result, his patients and their families lived with the belief they could have cancer and underwent extensive and life-changing operations for no medical reason, which affected them both physically and psychologically.
Paterson, aged 59 from Castle Mill Lane, Ashley, Altrincham, was convicted of all 20 offences of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on ten patients at Nottingham Crown Court following a ten week trial.
The court heard the consultant surgeon carried out invasive breast surgery on nine women and one man between 1997-2011. The patients, aged between 25 and 55 at the time, suffered numerous operations and medical procedures.
One woman underwent 12 breast operations in 16 years.
The father-of-three is believed to have performed hundreds of unauthorised procedures on patients during his time as a consultant breast surgeon, persuading patients to undergo unnecessary mastectomies and lumpectomies.
This was despite many patients only needing a simple biopsy rather than invasive surgery.
As a result, Paterson was able to own a luxury home in Birmingham’s Edgbaston area, numerous properties in Cardiff and Manchester and also holiday home in America.
The 58-year-old worked at hospitals run by the Heart of England NHS Trust and also practiced privately at Bupa hospitals in Solihull and Sutton Coldfield, latterly run by Spire Healthcare. The charges related to his private practice work at the two private hospitals, where patients had either been referred to or had paid to visit privately.
The police investigation began in November 2012 following concerns from a patient over the treatment she had been given at a private hospital in Solihull. When she looked at her medical files, she found that the information recorded by Paterson was untrue.
Paterson had by this point already been suspended by the General Medical Council in relation to cleavage sparing procedures he had allegedly performed.
Hundreds of patients were recalled to hospital to have their cases reviewed and evidence emerged that Paterson had deceived numerous patients as to their condition to justify surgery that he would receive payment for.
The majority of treatments were paid for from private health insurance and some were self-funded by patients.
Paterson circumnavigated the correct procedure for dealing with breast abnormalities, so he could justify performing open surgeries that would attract higher payments. He would then misrepresent radiology and pathology reports to give misleading diagnosis to continue his web of deceit.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Payne said: “The procedures carried out by Ian Paterson on vulnerable patients were unnecessary and caused physical suffering, scars and wounds to the patients.
“Also, as a result of his greed and arrogance, many of the patients have suffered psychologically, believing they needed to undergo the procedures because they were at risk from breast cancer.
“Paterson was a renowned and experienced surgeon who instilled complete confidence in his patients and therefore abused his position of trust. Of the 11 victims he was charged with in relation to this case, none had breast cancer, and yet he led them to believe they were at risk.
“This was cruel and unnecessarily led to many people suffering and living in fear. Paterson was a controlling bully, who played God with people’s lives so he could live a luxurious lifestyle.”
Det Chief Supt Payne added: “This case has been long and complex, with my officers talking to hundreds of potential victims. We have had amazing support from these individuals and their families and I would like to pay tribute to their bravery.
“We have also had terrific support from the hospitals and staff involved who were also duped by Paterson, he deliberately misinterpreted his colleagues’ diagnosis so he could convince his patients they needed surgery. This case has also had a profound effect on their lives and reputation as well.
“I hope today’s verdict can mean that all those who have been affected by Paterson can now begin to move on with their lives.”
Paterson will be sentenced at the end of May.