Shocked viewers of Bodies of Evidence: The Butcher Surgeon slammed Ian Paterson, who diagnosed healthy victims with cancer and performed 1,000 botched and unnecessary operations.
Paterson had misdiagnosed cancer in healthy patients and performed unnecessary and damaging surgery including unregulated ‘cleavage-sparing’ mastectomies. Convicted on 17 counts of wounding with intent, he was jailed for 20 years in 2017.
In the ITV documentary, which aired last night, one of his victims Carole Johnson described how Paterson told her husband he was a ‘very lucky man’ after inspecting her breasts. Over a number of year, he then put her under the knife seven times to remove lumps which he said were bordering on cancer.
The former pub landlady explained: ‘I would never question Mr Paterson because he was like God, he was right, – he knew what he was on about.’
However in 2011, breast surgeon Hemant Ingle ended up telling her ‘none of the surgeries were necessary’.
When Ingle broke the news, Carole said she had ‘burst into tears’, adding: ‘You take the word of the doctor and trust the word of the doctor and expect them to be truthful with you. You don’t expect them to be removing lumps that should never have been removed. Why would you do that?’
Many of those watching were left horrified by the programme, with one commenting: ‘This arrogant butcher cared about nobody but himself and his bank balance.
Shocked viewers of Bodies of Evidence: The Butcher Surgeon slammed Ian Paterson, who diagnosed healthy victims with cancer and performed 1,000 botched and unnecessary operations (pictured, one of his victims Carol Johnson)
‘He and that fake breast cancer nurse had no shame. The pain of receiving a letter explaining that the surgery performed was unnecessary, is truly heartbreaking.’
Another wrote: ‘These poor poor people. Pattinson clearly had a God complex. How on earth after the initial investigation was he allowed to continue in the NHS and private hospitals?’
A third added: ‘This is when you give one person too much power.’
‘Truly shocking…still can’t comprehend how he got away with this for so long, but hope the NHS took serious lessons from this,’ another wrote.
Paterson had misdiagnosed cancer in healthy patients and performed unnecessary and damaging surgery including unregulated ‘cleavage-sparing’ mastectomies. Convicted on 17 counts of wounding with intent, he was jailed for 20 years in 2017
Glasgow-born Paterson, who saw patients dressed in pin-striped suits, enjoyed a lavish lifestyle and was feted as a celebrity surgeon.
He dined in Michelin-starred restaurants, drove an Aston Martin and entertained GPs in private boxes at football and rugby matches.
His property portfolio included a £1.25million eight-bedroom Georgian mansion in Edgbaston, one of the smartest postcodes in Birmingham, and a holiday home in Florida with views over a private golf-course.
Aided by his loyal assistant, breast nurse Bethan Lloyd Owen, Paterson was also the lead surgeon at Spire Healthcare’s private hospitals at Parkway, Solihull, and Little Aston north of Birmingham.
Consultants were able to top up their earnings on the NHS through lucrative private work. They took a cut of fees for each operation, after paying rent to the private hospital.
A Spire price list from 2009 showed a breast care package including an initial consultant appointment, mammogram and biopsy cost £864.
Many of those watching the documentary were left horrified last night, with one commenting that he was a ‘sadistic offender’
Ingle said private reconstruction surgery costs between £10,000 and £12,000. It is thought Paterson’s private work doubled his NHS salary of around £100,000.
In the documentary, victims described the pain of being diagnosed with cancer – with Deborah Douglas explaining how she found a lump at Christmas 2003.
Jailed for 20 years for wounding with intent: Ian Paterson
Butchering breast surgeon Ian Paterson is currently serving his 20-year prison sentence.
What was he convicted of? He was convicted of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding between 1997 and 2011, after a trial in 2017.
How did he harm patients? Paterson carried out ‘experimental mastectomies’ on women that left the breast tissue in place, allowing the cancer to return.
In some cases, he also advised treatment for women when they did not have cancer and offered them more expensive procedures.
Who has been affected? 675 out of 1,207 women who underwent the unregulated treatment had died by 2017.
Where did he work? Paterson worked at NHS hospitals in the West Midlands and private clinics including those run by Spire hospitals.
She said: ‘I just thought to myself, “This can’t be happening”. I’ve got three young kids.
‘Everyone I had interaction with – I was lucky to have the best consultant in the area.
‘Both my parents had just died of cancer…I wrote a message to each of my kids, saying how much I love them and all the special attributes each one of them had because I didn’t think I’d survive.’
After a biopsy, she was told by Paterson that her breast ‘needed to come off’, as she recalled: ‘He said, “You’ll be fine, you’ll go with two boobs, come back with two boobs and a nice flat stomach.
‘In my mind, I thought, “I am going to do whatever he says. This is the person who is going to save my life.”
After Debby’s mastectomy, she had a reconstructive surgery and chemotherapy, saying: ‘You had the feeling that he was god and that’s how I felt about him. He saved my life.’
Meanwhile Carole described how she had started seeing Paterson because she had a ‘history of breast lumps.’
She described how Ian looked at the mammograms before saying to her husband: ‘You’re a very lucky man. She’s got the breasts of a teenager – 18-year-olds. He checked the lump and said it had definitely got to come out.’
Ove the next three years, he operated on Carole three more times, each time saying the lumps were bordering on cancer.
Victim John Ingram has undergone years of therapy after Paterson incorrectly performed a double mastectomy in 2006.
Paterson had convinced him to have an unnecessary operation – despite knowing he didn’t have cancer at all.
John explained: ‘I remember standing up and looking at myself in the mirror and just seeing these two red scars instead of nipples.
‘He said, I was cured and I didn’t need chemo. He told me that I had to keep an eye on my pancreas and prostate and get that checked every six months.
‘He checked my prostate on a number of occasions. Because of his quick intervention and action – he was very clear in the fact that he was my saviour.’
One victim, Debby Douglas, described how she feared she would die and wrote letters to her children after being told by Paterson she needed a mastectomy
Another victim, John Ingram, underwent a double mastectomy and said Paterson had ‘lied to him and drugged him’ for ‘no reason’
In 2007, breast surgeon Hemant Ingle tried to challenge Paterson after becoming concerned the senior consultant was putting patients at risk by carrying out inappropriate reconstruction surgery and partial mastectomies that left breast tissue behind. Some patients subsequently died.
Eight most common signs of breast cancer
• A change in size or shape
• A lump or area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast
• A change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange)
• A redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
• Your nipple has become pulled in or looks different, for example changed its position or shape
• Liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing
• Pain in your breast or your armpit that’s there all or almost all of the time
• A swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
Ingle said: ‘He [Paterson] would railroad through [hospital] meetings, saying this is how the treatment is going to be.
‘But so many times I felt he was advising patients’ reconstruction surgery unnecessarily. We fought at almost every meeting.’
Ingle’s suspicions were confirmed when Paterson asked him to perform breast reconstruction surgery on one of his female patients when he was on holiday – even though her medical records showed she had no trace of cancer.
‘It was a shock to me that there was absolutely no pre-cancer,’ he said. ‘I felt really sad and anxious – and Paterson became angry that I had caught him out.
‘That’s when my tentacles went up to say, this guy really will do anything.’
Today, he believes Paterson was motivated by pure greed, with some reports suggesting he had earned as much as £100,000 a year from the procedures on top of his £100,000 NHS salary.
Ingle, backed by two colleagues, wrote eight letters to senior NHS managers over 2007 alerting them to his concerns and Paterson’s bullying manner towards colleagues.
They included the claim that Paterson had threatened him with the sack if his complaints continued.
His multiple warnings prompted an internal investigation that found Paterson had performed incomplete mastectomies, which put patients at greater risk of their cancer returning, and had recommended inappropriate breast reconstruction.
But there was little action in response.
After a brief period of supervision, Paterson was allowed to continue performing breast and general surgery at NHS and private hospital until he was suspended from both the NHS and private practice in 2011.
In 2011, breast surgeon Hemant Ingle described how he broke down in tears telling several of the victims they had undergone the treatments unnecessarily
Carole said she now looks back at her scars and thinks there was ‘no need for one of them’ (pictured)
Once Paterson was finally suspended, a number of his private patients were referred to Ingle at Spire Parkway.
On reviewing their notes, Ingle discovered to his horror that Paterson had been falsely diagnosing patients with cancer on a huge scale.
He said: ‘Every patient was an eye-opener. Once I started reading the notes it was a Pandora’s Box, and that box just kept on opening.
‘I was shocked to discover that these patients would have a small, benign lump in the breast and they would go straight to theatre without biopsy. He [Paterson] had recorded them as cancer, but none of these cases had cancer.’
Armed with mounting evidence, Ingle made a further complaint in 2011 to Spire’s management.
He said: ‘Once I found out that the patients were being maltreated, I thought, either I become a party to that or I take a stand and keep on writing until this is sorted.’
By then, Paterson had performed more than 1,000 botched or unnecessary operations, including on children [under 18]. By 2017, more than half his mastectomy patients had died.
Carole described being recalled by Dr Ingle, and said she initially defended Paterson in their appointment.
Ingle thinks Paterson (pictured in 2017) was motivated by pure greed, with some reports suggesting he had earned as much as £100,000 a year from the procedures on top of his £100,000 NHS salary
Paterson (pictured in 2017 near the court) had misdiagnosed cancer in healthy patients and performed unnecessary and damaging surgery including unregulated ‘cleavage-sparing’ mastectomies. Convicted on 17 counts of wounding with intent, he was jailed for 20 years in 2017
She explained: ‘Ingle said, “We’ve read your notes and, are you going to believe that you didn’t need to have one lump removed?”‘
Dr Ingle said: ‘I showed her she had seven different surgeries and none of the surgeries were necessary.
‘Someone going through seven surgeries and I’m suddenly telling her…when she cried, yes my emotion…I did cry with her.’
Meanwhile Carole said she ‘burst into tears’, adding: ‘I look now and I think, there was no need for one of those scars. Why?’
John recalled: ‘I walked into the room…the consultant said when he read my notes, his jaw dropped because he could see no reason to justify any of the treatment I’d had.
‘And I thought, what on earth have we just heard? It meant somebody had taken me, lied to me, drugged me and removed body parts from me for no reason.’
The Glaswegian-born breast surgeon is currently serving 20 years for his 14-year campaign of botched ops he carried out in the West Midlands (Pictured: Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield)
Ingle, who also worked alongside Paterson in the private sector, told Mail on Sunday: ‘Money was the motivation for Paterson, and that is why he did so much fraud.
‘There was so much work at Solihull hospital that between Paterson and the plastic surgeon, they had a deal where NHS patients would be taken privately, and both of them would charge private rates for surgery to the NHS. The management agreed to that.’
Yet many of Paterson’s patients struggled to afford the surgery that left them permanently disfigured, traumatised and at greater risk of their cancer coming back.
Ingle claimed Paterson gave better care to patients in private clinics, where he could also bill for multiple follow-up appointments.
‘It was literally a Jekyll and Hyde scenario,’ he said. ‘So many patients told me that when they finished private treatment because they couldn’t afford it any more and they went to the NHS, he [Paterson] wouldn’t even look at them.’
Ingle said Paterson had so many private cases at the two Spire hospitals, he suspected Bethan was stealing his patients.
He said: ‘Mr Paterson and Bethan had such a strong influence that it was almost impossible to get any cases. On a Friday afternoon, he would have between 20 and 22 patients in a private clinic, which is unheard of in the NHS.’
Paterson worked at NHS hospitals in the West Midlands and private clinics including those run by Spire hospitals (Spire Parkway in Solihull, pictured)
The growing body of evidence led to a criminal investigation by West Midlands Police.
Once Paterson had been convicted at Nottingham Crown Court, a compensation fund backed by the NHS and Spire paid out £37million to around 750 patients.
They called Paterson a ‘psychopath’ and said his ‘God complex’ had wrecked their families and livelihoods.
In total he saw more than 11,000 patients, who continue to come forward and seek legal advice after being contacted by the NHS and Spire.
Meanwhile, Birmingham coroners are investigating whether at least seven of Paterson’s patients died an unnatural death as a result of his actions.
A major inquiry led by the former Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James, reported in 2020 that both the NHS and Spire Healthcare had failed to supervise Paterson appropriately and failed to act on well-evidenced complaints about his practice.
A major inquiry led by the former Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James (pictured), reported in 2020 that both the NHS and Spire Healthcare had failed to supervise Paterson appropriately and failed to act on well-evidenced complaints about his practice
It blamed the healthcare system for ‘a culture of avoidance and denial’ and said his behaviour had been ‘excused or even favoured’.
A spokesperson for the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘The Trust wholly condemns Paterson’s actions and the inaction culture poor governance surrounding decisions made by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust during that time.’
A Spire Healthcare statement said: ‘We apologise for the significant distress and harm suffered by patients who were treated by Ian Paterson in our hospitals.
‘Spire has changed radically since 2011. Our culture, management and standards have been overhauled, with safety and quality sitting at the heart of everything we do.’