Victims of jailed surgeon Ian Paterson have told how his crimes have left them with “painful mutilating scars” and struggling to trust medical professionals.
More than 500 former patients of Glasgow-born Paterson are seeking compensation from a private healthcare provider.
The 59-year-old was sentenced to 15 years in prison at Nottingham Crown Court on Wednesday after he was convicted of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding against 10 patients. He carried out a raft of needless breast operations, leaving his victims scarred and disfigured.
The rogue surgeon was employed by the NHS and also worked at private hospitals in the West Midlands.
The NHS has already paid out nearly £18 million after settling the cases of more than 250 patients.
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”.
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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.”
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.
Judge Baker said Paterson was “charming and charismatic” and used these characteristics to manipulate patients.
He also drew attention to Paterson’s arrogance, which he said 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.
Before hearing his sentence, the victims told the court how Paterson’s crimes had left them in constant pain and struggling to trust medical professionals.
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.”
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Carole Johnson, who went under Paterson’s knife six times in seven years with all but the first procedure unnecessary, said Paterson was a “monster”.
She said her “world has been turned upside down” by having the unnecessary procedures, 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 over 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.
In 2012, more than 700 patients of Paterson’s were recalled after concerns about unnecessary or incomplete operations.
He was suspended by the General Medical Council that same year amid claims that 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.