UK doctor jailed for 15 years over unnecessary breast surgery

LONDON (Reuters) - A British breast surgeon who carried out unnecessary operations on 10 patients for personal gain was sentenced to 15 years in prison, a court heard on Wednesday.

In his private practice, Ian Paterson lied to exaggerate risks that patients would develop breast cancer, performing needless surgery and in some cases mastectomies for which patients paid, judge Jeremy Baker said.

“The physical, and particularly, psychological effect upon each of them, has been profound,” the judge told Nottingham Crown Court.

The trial had heard that patients trusted the doctor who was charming and reassuring, but were later left feeling violated and vulnerable, with some having suffered prolonged psychological distress.

The 59-year-old surgeon’s motives were not clear, the judge said, but he had shown a “complete lack of remorse” during the trial.

“I have no doubt that in pursuit of your own self-aggrandizement and the material rewards which it brought from your private practice, you lost sight of the fact that you were carrying out significant surgical procedures,” Baker said.

“Without any regard for the long-term effects which it had on them, you deliberately played upon their worst fears,” he said.

Speaking after the sentencing, Patricia Welch, one of Paterson’s victims, said she felt justice had been done but called for an inquiry so that patients had full protection when seeking private medical care.

“We will never know the real reason he has acted in such an evil way,” she told reporters outside the court. “It will never go away because you just see it in the mirror every morning.”

Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary, editing by Estelle Shirbon