Breast cancer surgeon on trial following allegations of “unnecessary” operations

A court has heard how a breast cancer surgeon carried out “unnecessary” operations following allegations of mistreatment from former patients.

Ian Paterson, 59, is currently on trial at Nottingham Crown Court, charged with 20 counts of wounding with intent against nine women and one man. Mr Paterson practiced at various private Spire Healthcare hospitals in the West Midlands and worked at the Heart of England NHS Trust, with the  charges coming from operations between 1997 and 2011. He was suspended by the General Medical Council in October 2012.

Over recent weeks, the jury has heard from some of the 10 people, all of whom are said to have had operations “for no medically justifiable reason”. This included a woman who was told she needed to have a double mastectomy, despite tests showing no sign of malignancy. A man was also told to be “on the road to cancer”, with the prosecutor, Julian Christopher QC, stating that the man never had the disease.

A GP, who was also a patient of Mr Paterson, has said of how she was under the impression she already had cancer and was left “anxious” about her health. She had an operation on both breasts, which the prosecution alleges was unlawful and that Mr Paterson had exaggerated the risk of cancer.

Mr Christopher has noted that Mr Paterson’s invention, or exaggeration, of cancer risks to patients has left some developing mental health issues. He added that the operations may have been carried out to allow the surgeon to earn extra money and profile himself as a busy surgeon – despite the potential risks to the patients’ health.

Mr Paterson denies all of the claims and the trial continues.

Unite Legal Services is representing some of Paterson’s patients in civil cases.