The findings of a long awaited inquiry into breast surgeon Ian Paterson’s malpractice have now been published. The damning report identified “multiple individual and organisational failures" and a culture of "avoidance and denial.”
The inquiry has also recommended that anyone treated by Paterson, approximately 11,000 patients, be recalled and assessed. Sadly, some of his patients have since died, but many others affected by him have been waiting for the results of the inquiry for some time.
Paterson is currently in jail serving a 20 year terms for wounding with intent. He worked at NHS and private hospitals including the Heart of England Foundation Trust and the Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston private hospitals in the West Midlands for over a decade.
During this time he not only carried out breast cancer surgery on patients who did not have breast cancer, he also used a surgical technique on patients who did have breast cancer, which left much of the breast tissue behind.
Inquiry chair Rt Revd Graham James has also referred one of Paterson’s colleagues to the police and five others to health watchdogs. The coroner and West Midlands Police are also currently looking into the deaths of 23 of Paterson's patients.
Rt Revd Graham James also found that patients were let down at every level, saying: “This capacity for wilful blindness is illustrated by the way in which Paterson's behaviour and aberrant clinical practice was excused or even favoured.
"Many simply avoided or worked round him. Some could have known, while others should have known, and a few must have known."
While the NHS, The Royal College of Surgeons and Spire Healthcare all claim that lessons have been learnt from the experience, Paterson’s case is not an isolated incident.
We have represented a number of clients where they have been victim of unnecessary medical procedures.
While of course the vast majority of doctors perform their work to the highest standards, there are still questions to be answered around putting better processes in place to safeguard against those surgeons who are not acting as they should. The inquiry chair himself identifies in his report that something similar could happen now.
If you have been affected by this case, or feel you have been the victim of medical malpractice in Kent or nationally, our expert team would be happy to talk you through your options.