A breast surgeon has been found guilty of carrying out unnecessary operations on nine women and one man, and it’s now feared he may have harmed thousands of other patients.
Ian Paterson, 59, was found guilty on Friday of 17 counts of wounding and three counts of unlawful wounding at Nottingham Crown Court in the UK. He faces life behind bars.
In one of the most chilling medical cases to have come to light in Britain in recent years, the court was told that the butcher surgeon exaggerated or invented cancer risks, tricking patients into believing they needed major procedures which left them deformed.
Prosecutors said it was not clear why Paterson, a father of three, acted as he did, though theories range from his having had a ‘God complex’ to simply being greedy for extra money.
Jurors attending the seven-week trial concluded the surgeon carried out “extensive, life-changing operations for no medically justifiable reason” on the 10 patients between 1997 and 2011.
Lawyers are now pursuing civil cases for another 350 patients treated at the privately-run Little Aston and Parkway hospitals in the West Midlands.
Paterson claims to have invented what he termed the “cleavage-sparing mastectomy” – leaving tissue in place to achieve a superior cosmetic effect – and performed it on many of his patients.
But by doing this, he left women in serious danger of developing secondary cancer, jurors heard.
One of his victims was Frances Perks, 58, of Burntwood, Staffs. She had nine needless operations including a mastectomy in 2008. She said: “I hate Ian Paterson with a passion. I think he’s a psychopath. I hope he rots in hell.”
Law firm Slater and Gordon said there could be “hundreds, if not thousands” of other potential claimants.
During the trial, 10 victims gave accounts – representing a sample of those Paterson treated – having been operated on between 1997 and 2011 at the privately-run Little Aston and Parkway hospitals in the West Midlands.
Jurors were not told Paterson had carried out hundreds of unnecessary operations on National Health Service patients, with a hospital trust already paying out £17.8m in damages and legal costs.
He was granted bail and is due to be sentenced in May.