Disgraced breast surgeon has his sentence increased
Ian Paterson was trusted by his patients but over the course of his career he made countless false diagnoses and carried out needless operations that left many of his patients scarred physically and mentally.
The disgraced breast surgeon has had his jail sentence increased from 15 years to 20 years as, on appeal, it was felt that his original sentence did not reflect the seriousness of his offences. Lady Justice Hallett, one of the three Appeal Court judges who heard the case, described his treatment of patients as “brutal and sustained”. The judges found that there had been a breach of trust and an abuse of power in the way in which he had treated vulnerable patients in his care. The original trial heard how Paterson had exaggerated or invented cancer risks amongst his private patients and claimed payment for more expensive procedures than those he had carried out.
In October, more than 500 of his private patients who had unnecessary operations will seek compensation in the High Court. He also carried out hundreds of unnecessary operations on NHS patients, with the Heart of England Hospital Trust paying out £17.8m in damages and legal costs to 256 patients.
A long wait for justice
Colleagues had noticed problems with Paterson’s surgery over a decade ago. One clinician carried out an audit of 100 patients referred to him in 2003, and found that the surgical techniques Paterson was using were unsafe and could lead to patients developing secondary cancer. However, these finding weren’t acted upon. In 2007, a newly-appointed surgeon took his concerns to the hospital board, but it wasn’t until 2011 that NHS managers took the decision to recall all of Paterson’s mastectomy patients.
What to do if you have concerns about your treatment
For the most part, doctors and health professionals do an excellent job and perform to high standards of care and treatment. However, on occasion, patients can find that that their condition is misdiagnosed, or there is an unacceptable delay in getting the correct diagnosis and treatment in place.
Whether you are being treated by the NHS or privately, you have the right to:
- Make a complaint and have it dealt with efficiently and in full
- Be informed as to the outcome of any investigation
- Take your case to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
- Be compensated if you’ve been harmed through an act of negligence