Sunday 25 June 2017

Breast surgeon accused of unnecessary ops denies calling patient a 'lying b**ch'

Richard Vernalls

A breast surgeon accused of carrying out unnecessary operations has told a court he never called his alleged victim "a lying bitch" while she was giving evidence against him.

Ian Paterson, responding to a prosecutor's claim that he used the derogatory term during GP Dr Rosemary Platt's witness box evidence, said: "No. Why would I use that language about a patient?"

He added: "I said that I thought she wasn't telling the truth."

Paterson said he did not believe any of his 10 alleged victims were "liars", but that their memories had become confused over time.

The surgeon, facing the fourth day of cross-examination in his trial at Nottingham Crown Court, also said professional surgical guidelines were "not rules or laws, written in stone".

He told the Crown's barrister, Julian Christopher QC: "You're looking at a guidelines, I'm treating a patient - that's where we differ."

The surgeon is standing trial after denying 20 counts of wounding with intent against nine women and one man relating to procedures he carried out between 1997 and 2011.

Dr Platt is said to have had three operations including a right breast mastectomy which prosecutors have claimed were needless.

Jurors have previously heard claims that Paterson carried out completely unnecessary operations for "obscure motives" which may have included a desire to "earn extra money".

However, on Thursday he told the court he had offered another alleged victim a free mastectomy.

Paterson said that when patient Frances Perks' insurer only offered to cover surgery on her left breast, "I told her I would do it (the right breast) for no fee".

He added: "The simple reason is the anaesthetist and the reconstructive surgeon refused to do their part for free."

Read More: Surgeon faces inquiry over 1,000 'unnecessary' breast operations

The 59-year-old was answering questions about a decision to carry out a mastectomy on alleged victim Ms Perks in 2006.

The Crown's barrister asked if he was "familiar" with the 2005 guidelines of the British Association of Surgical Oncology (BASO).

Paterson replied: "In broad, yes, we tend to follow them, but they're not rules or laws, written in stone."

He added that the guidelines were "entirely appropriate" for most patients, but were not a perfect fit for every case.

Paterson added: "We followed BASO guidelines as being the professional body that oversaw the work we did, day in, day out, as strictly as possible, with the caveat that individual patients didn't necessarily fit into the guidelines."

Mr Christopher then asked Paterson if he had engaged in "a fishing expedition" and had sought to "justify" a double mastectomy on Ms Perks, when potentially pre-cancerous disease had only been found in one of her breasts.

Paterson said: "She (Ms Perks) even considered funding the anaesthetist's part of the right side herself, but it transpired that didn't happen - I think it was too expensive for her."

Mr Christoper asked: "Did you tell her she would get breast cancer if she didn't have a double mastectomy?"

Paterson replied: "I'm not sure I was as stark as that, to be that cruel to a patient - but she was aware of her risk."

He added: "There was no pressure and there never had been."

Asked if he carried out "a completely unnecessary, uncalled-for operation" on Dr Platt, Paterson replied: "No, no."

Paterson, of Castle Mill Lane, Ashley, Altrincham, Greater Manchester, was formerly employed by Heart of England NHS Trust and also practised at Spire Healthcare.

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