The Breast Friends group has called on Paterson’s ex-employers Heart of England NHS Foundation (HEFT) and Spire Healthcare to communicate with all victims because Paterson was found guilty in April of 17 counts of wounding with intent, leaving victims at risk of cancer.
HEFT announced that of Paterson’s 1,206 patients that underwent mastectomies, 675 have since died and his employers stated they will fully cooperate with a new attempt to communicate with his previous patients.
Paterson, 60, served as a consultant at Solihull Hospital from 1998 and carried out “cleavage-sparing mastectomies”. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail at Nottingham Crown Court in April. This was later raised to 20 years.
The Breast Friends group announced reviews to date risk missing out sufferers of Paterson, who underwent general procedures, such as gallbladder extraction. He was a general surgeon as well as a breast cancer surgeon.
Plus this is a huge concern now and how countless other people were affected and HEFT announced it had not summoned all of Paterson’s patients but has examined more than 24,000 mastectomy procedure patients’ records to see if Paterson was involved.
The new force to contact patients will add numbers from the private sector which will be a step forward and hospital administrators will be missing a massive trick if the pathology of the departed is not examined to reveal the rates of cancer recurrence.
Nevertheless, the study of deceased victims will not restore any harm that has now been created or present any substantial compensation to the survivors and cancer survivors badly operated on by the discredited breast surgeon Ian Paterson are calling on his old employers to assure that all previous patients are contacted.
However, Health campaigners state they worry some may have been missed despite a number of investigations.
Paterson a consultant breast surgeon who was contracted by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) purposely injured his patients by distorting or creating cancer risks and demanded payments for more costly procedures.
He had practising rights in the independent sector at both Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston in Birmingham and was found guilty of 17 counts of injuring victims with intent in April.
The Department of Health announced a wider independent inquiry into Paterson’s negligence and the broader lessons to be mastered but campaigners maintain this fell short of their choice of a public examination.
They maintain the independent inquiry has no powers to force people to give testimony, and they’re statement suggests that there is little likelihood of any new important information coming forth but they agree it could provide a step forward if the inquiry is able to show complete statistics on patient numbers.
Spire and the NHS state they will fully co-operate with the new inquiry.
One lady was marred by Paterson and everybody trusted Mr Paterson, he was like a god to many of those people and he was brimming with self-confidence and appeal and the surgeon was exactly the sort of man people trusted with their lives.
His unwavering composure comforted many an apprehensive victim as they were wheeled into the operating theatre. He was, after all, the Heart of England NHS Trust’s busiest surgeon, taking on the lion’s portion of operations in his department, as well as running busy private clinics in the West Midlands.
Patients believed he was a wonderful doctor because he was a really friendly, sincere person, who you wouldn’t ever suspect was able to do this sort of thing.
Frances Perks was 35 when she met Paterson after a mass was discovered in her breast. She had recently lost her mother and sister to breast cancer, and the surgeon told her to have a double mastectomy or chance full-blown cancer.
In the end, she opted to have one breast, her left, removed, and underwent eight other procedures at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull after Paterson said he kept discovering sinister looking lumps.
The fact was, that Mrs Perks, of Burntwood, Staffordshire, should never have had any of the procedures, let alone lose her breast. However, as numerous inquiries have now shown, Paterson routinely fabricated the truth and manipulated victims, co-workers and his administrators while carrying out disfiguring, dangerous procedures.
The real amount of people he destroyed is unknown and his trial at Nottingham Crown Court was the tip of the iceberg. But how was he able to get away with it for so long?
Behind the warm-hearted bedside manner that gained him the trust of thousands of women and men was a Jekyll and Hyde character defined as an arrogant bully by former co-workers and one doctor, who worked with him for a number of years, stated he had a very aggressive, bullying sort of personality, which allowed him to get his way.
People would usually go around him, they were frightened of him.
He didn’t want anyone in his way and because of his character he tended to be private and he actually liked that. People would bypass him, go around him and not deal with him, so he never got challenged or hauled up.
Nevertheless, something more troubling than character conflicts quickly became visible and in 2002, a tiny number of Paterson’s co-workers saw the women he was doing mastectomies on were not having their full breast removed.
It appeared Paterson had developed his own alternative of the operation a cleavage-sparing mastectomy. He considered leaving tissue behind encouraged women to get over the ordeal of losing their breasts by holding an element of their appearance.
It was unregulated by the GMC and a violation of national guidelines, which affirm the purpose of a mastectomy is to remove the vast bulk of breast mass but Joanne Lowson, who underwent the operation privately, said at his trial she was led to understand it would enable her to wear bikinis and pretty tops.
However, Paterson repeatedly convinced bosses it was trustworthy but, on the contrary, the method was extremely dangerous. If you leave excess breast tissue behind there is a considerably elevated risk cancer will reappear.
Paterson was found to have fabricated cancer manifestations in innumerable cases, doing mastectomies when much less invasive surgery and in some instances, a simple course of antibiotics would have sufficed.
Precisely why he carried out his deadly and futile operations is unclear.
Maintaining an image as a busy, successful surgeon, making more money through private work and being trusted by victims who mainly due to his own dishonesty thought they were at great risk, were opinions put forward by the prosecuting barrister, Julian Christopher QC.
Financial can’t have been the single reason, so what else are we left with? Either simply an uncaring, unthinking almost deranged-type mindset, or maybe he liked the devotion of the victim. However, Paterson’s behaviour is comparable to that of killer doctor Harold Shipman.
They both appeared to not know that what they were doing was illegal. Or if they realised it, they did it anyhow but while it is not understood whether the surgeon’s actions have contributed to any mortality, unlike in Shipman’s case, it is thought that Paterson’s actions were stoked by greedy, strange desires.
They both displayed some range of deranged approach to the care for their patients, that it wasn’t the patient that they were caring about, it was more their own goal or their own importance that was motivating their behaviour.
Paterson maintained he never meant to cause injury, and that he acted in his patients’ best interests and it was them who had opted for surgery.
He began operating as a surgeon at Solihull Hospital, a part of the Heart of England NHS Trust, in 1998 and quickly became recognised as being a quick operator and he could do many operations for breast cancer in a morning while others would do two or three.
While some called his work as dextrous and quick, others named it slipshod and slapdash and watching him work was a whirlwind.
He would breeze into the theatre, with a kind of relentless hastiness with things, and merely worked to get on as swiftly as possible.
However, one clinician, Dr Andrew Stockdale, saw something was awry with Paterson’s surgery.
He carried out an inspection of 100 patients assigned to him in 2003 and he discovered high numbers left with too much tissue who chanced growing secondary cancer, so he shared his concerns and managers commissioned the first report into Paterson but the resulting conclusions were just shared with senior bosses.
The trust did not take a blind bit of notice of it and, not only that, they swept it under the rug, therefore, Paterson carried on working, unchallenged, until 2007 when a newly selected surgeon took his concerns to managers.
This sparked additional inquiries and reports, which led to NHS bosses preventing Paterson from delivering his version of the mastectomy, prompting a closer review of Paterson’s earlier work.
It became more visible that something was awry and 12 women who NHS bosses feared might be most in danger were recalled and as word got out and stories started emerging in the newspapers and more of Paterson’s past patients started manifesting themselves at clinics, demanding to be examined.
By summer 2011, NHS managers had chosen to summon all of Paterson’s mastectomy patients and in the nine years, he worked at the trust, there had been 1,207, although the cumulative number of people he operated on there is 4,424.
He handled thousands more privately.
Paterson was barred by the trust in May 2011 and by the GMC in October 2012 and police started investigating in 2012.
The facts of his victims in court and Professor Drew’s medical testimony opposing Paterson’s actions convinced a jury that Paterson was a truly dangerous man and it’s distressing to even consider that someone would knowingly deceive a patient and submit them to effectively disfiguring surgery for no purpose, no good logic at all, and let them think that they’d had cancer for years when there was really nothing wrong.
Shipman was strange, Paterson is odd and they both knowingly injured people and you have to understand the full mindset of the medical field that is so corrupt, it doesn’t even occur to you that it can happen.
Failure to hinder Paterson sooner has proved costly for his past employers and The Heart of England Trust has settled £17.8 million in injuries and damages to 256 victims, while a civil suit this autumn will see 350 private patients seeking damages.
It is the human price of his actions which has been nothing short of disastrous and hundreds of victims have been left deformed. Many still experience mental health difficulties after having their cancer symptoms wildly distorted.
Tragically, many have died. Whether his actions added to their mortality is not yet known.