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Posted on 1st March 2017

Top Surgeon removed healthy breasts to increase his status

 A court has heard how an experienced cancer surgeon removed health breasts and other performed unnecessary surgery on health patients to prove he was at the “top of his game”.

 Ian Paterson, 59, worked in NHS hospitals and private clinics in the West Midlands for almost 20 years.

 He is accused of subjecting at least ten patients to unnecessary breast surgeries and invasive tests for personal and financial gain.

 Nottingham crown court heard nine women and one man accuse Mr Paterson of carrying out 20 serious or life-changing breast procedures, despite there being no medical reason for him to do so.

 Mr Paterson is accused of telling those patients the invasive treatment was vital because they were at risk of getting, or already had, breast cancer.

 Julian Christopher, QC, for the prosecution told the court that Mr Paterson may have been trying to “maintain his image as a busy successful surgeon… or to earn extra money by doing extra operations”.

 The alleged victims were treated privately at two Spire Healthcare clinics in the Birmingham area between 1997 and 2011 and they were all told they were serious ill by the surgeon. 

One patient had her right breast removed and part of her left, despite her scans being given the “all clear” by an independent expert.

The operations were painful and lengthy, with one lasting six hours where she needed a blood transfusion. All of which were completely unnecessary.

Mr Paterson is not only accused on performing wrongful surgery but is accused of falsifying the numerical coding of expensive private treatments for financial gain, carrying out, and charging for, unnecessary follow-up appointment and providing false information to his patients’ GPs to justify their operations.

During the period the alleged offensives took place, Mr Paterson cared for thousands of breast cancer patients at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and the two private clinics. 

Mr Christopher for the prosecution told the court: “Ian Paterson was lying to patients and to their GPs . . . about the patient’s condition, exaggerating or quite simply inventing risks of cancer, to justify carrying out serious operations which were quite unnecessary.

“As a result, those patients and their families lived for many years with the belief that they could be very ill, and underwent extensive, life-changing operations for no medically justifiable reason; some have consequently developed serious mental health problems.”

Mr Paterson was suspended by the General Medical Council October 2012. He denies the 20 charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The trial continues.

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