CONTROVERSIAL breast surgeon Ian Paterson carried out ‘completely unnecessary’ operations after inventing or exaggerating cancer risks, leaving patients fearing for their lives, a court has heard.
Paterson, 59 and from Altrincham, is on trial at Nottingham Crown Court – charged with 20 counts of wounding with intent against nine women and one man during procedures at the Heart of England NHS trust and the privately-run Spire Healthcare hospitals in Solihull and Little Aston.
The surgeon denies the allegations, which refer to treatment he administered at the hospitals between 1997 and 2011.
Opening the case against Paterson, prosecutor Julian Christopher QC said the patients underwent extensive, life-changing operations for no medically justifiable reason and that many has suffered mental health problems as a result.
“He was extremely experienced and knowledgeable in his field – breast surgery – which makes what happened in this case, the prosecution say, all the more extraordinary and outrageous,” he said.
“All of the operations, the prosecution allege, were in fact completely unnecessary.”
The main issue of the case, according to Mr Christopher, is whether patients were ‘harmed lawfully’ or ‘whether the prosecution are right that what Mr Paterson did fell quite outside the realms of reasonable surgery’.
He said the prosecution would suggest the surgeon carried out the operations not because he thought it was in the best interests of the patient, but for his own perhaps obscure motives – ‘whether to maintain his image as a busy successful surgeon in great demand and at the top of his game, whether to earn extra money by doing extra operations and follow up consultations’.
It was also suggested he may have enjoyed holding patients’ lives in his hands after falsely making them believe they were gravely ill.
The trial is expected to last ten weeks.