Wednesday 20 September 2017

'Monster' surgeon jailed for needlessly carrying out breast operations

Victim Frances Perks reacts outside Nottingham Crown Court where Ian Paterson was jailed for 15 years. Photo: PA
Victim Frances Perks reacts outside Nottingham Crown Court where Ian Paterson was jailed for 15 years. Photo: PA

Grogina Stubbs

"Monster" surgeon has been jailed for 15 years after he carried out a raft of needless breast operations in the UK, leaving his victims scarred and disfigured.

Paterson (59) was convicted of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding against 10 patients last month.

Sentencing the surgeon at Nottingham Crown Court, Judge Jeremy Baker said Paterson was driven by his "own self-aggrandisement and the material rewards which it brought from your private practice".

He added: "You deliberately played upon their worst fears, either by inventing or deliberately exaggerating the risk that they would develop cancer, and thereby gained their trust and confidence to consent to the surgical procedures which you carried out upon them."

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of surgeon Ian Paterson in the dock at Nottingham Crown Court. Photo: PA
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of surgeon Ian Paterson in the dock at Nottingham Crown Court. Photo: PA

Paterson, from Altrincham, Greater Manchester, was handed 15 years for each count of wounding with intent, and four years for each count of unlawful wounding - to run concurrently.

Characteristics

Judge Baker said Paterson was "charming and charismatic" and used these characteristics to manipulate patients.

He also said Paterson's arrogance may have misled the surgeon into believing he was "untouchable".

With his conviction marking the end of his professional career, Judge Baker said he felt Paterson "deliberately exaggerated" symptoms he was suffering associated with adjustment disorder, to "seek to avoid being convicted".

Entering the courtroom with a large black suitcase, Paterson showed little emotion, often keeping his eyes down. Occasionally he could be seen shaking his head.

His trial heard harrowing evidence from the nine women and one man, who were treated in the private sector between 1997 and 2011 at Little Aston and Parkway hospitals in the West Midlands. The victims had told the court how Paterson's crimes had left them in constant pain and struggling to trust medical professionals.

Read more: Hospital bosses ignored complaints about butcher surgeon with 'God complex' for years, report finds

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To applause from the public gallery, John Ingram described Paterson as a "criminal" who has "never expressed remorse for his actions".

He said: "He used the respectability and cloak of professionalism that came with being a consultant breast cancer surgeon to commit grotesque, violent acts against me and the other victims."

Carole Johnson, who went under Paterson's knife six times in seven years with all but the first procedure unnecessary, said he was a "monster".

She said her "world has been turned upside down", adding: "I do not think I can find it within my heart to ever forgive him."

After sentencing, Pamela Jain, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said Paterson repeatedly abused his victims' trust for more than a decade.

She said: "The impact of Paterson's actions on his victims has been devastating, from the unnecessary distress of undergoing procedures they did not need, to the scars that will always serve as a physical reminder of what their doctor, Ian Paterson, did to them."

Judge Baker said because of his actions, most of his victims are suffering from "prolonged psychological conditions" including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

Claims

In 2012, more than 700 of his patients were recalled after concerns about unnecessary or incomplete operations.

He was suspended by the General Medical Council that same year amid claims he carried out so-called cleavage-sparing mastectomies (CSMs).

A freedom of information request by the Press Association revealed that 68 women who underwent a CSM - in which part of the breast was left for cosmetic reasons - by Paterson on the NHS had gone on to develop a recurrence of breast cancer. Figures also revealed that the NHS has paid out nearly £18m (€20.6m), of which £9.5m (€10.9m) was damages, following claims from nearly 800 of his patients.

Irish Independent

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