Jail bungling breast op surgeon, says Worcester patient

ANGRY: Paula Gelsthorpe

ANGRY: Paula Gelsthorpe

First published in News Worcester News: Photograph of the Author by

A PATIENT who had two lumps removed from her breast after being wrongly diagnosed with cancer says her surgeon should be jailed.

A woman from Worcester was among those to speak of their ordeal at the hands of surgeon Ian Paterson in central Birmingham yesterday.

Ian Paterson was suspended by the General Medical Council following a meeting on October 29 and banned from working while investigations continue into his fitness to practice.

He carried out procedures in NHS and private hospitals since 1994, including Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which covers Good Hope, Solihull and Heart-lands hospitals, and BMI The Priory (Birmingham), Spire Parkway (Solihull) and Spire Little Aston.

Thompsons Solicitors is already handling nearly 100 claims. The investigation involves up to 700 cases of an unregulated (so-called ‘cleavage-sparing’) procedure that involved leaving some breast tissue behind after a mastectomy and up to 450 cases of invasive breast surgery when a biopsy (which should have been done first) may have been sufficient.

Dog groomer Paula Gels-thorpe, aged 54, of Worcester, only found out about the claims following a recall letter on October 21 informing her about irregularities.

Miss Gelsthorpe had two private lumpectomies under general anaesthetic on her left breast in September 2002 and January 2009 at Spire Parkway Hospital, Solihull, leaving scar and fibrous tissue. She has since been told the lumps were benign and the operations unnecessary.

She said: “I asked, ‘How could he have got it so wrong?’ I said, ‘To make a mistake once is a great mistake but twice is unforgivable’.

“It gave me mixed emotions – huge relief that I hadn’t got breast cancer and never had cancer but I was also very, very angry and felt I had been betrayed. I’m still coming to terms with it.”

Miss Gelsthorpe urged other women treated by Paterson to come forward. No discussions have yet taken place about compensation.She said: “I was asked ‘what do you expect to happen to Mr Paterson?’ My reply was ‘to get what he deserves, a prison sentence’. If someone attacked me in the street and did some harm to me they would be arrested and get a prison sentence. He’s done exactly the same. I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones.”

Spire Healthcare, the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) are investigating. Medical records are under review and every patient will be notified and offered a face-to-face consultation.

Aresh Anwar, medical director for Heart of England Foundation Trust, said: “An external review highlighted that this was not a usual procedure and that Mr Paterson had not followed guidelines to introduce a new technique.”

Paterson was directed not to perform the procedure any further in December 2007 and has not been at the hospital since May 2011.

Any Heart of England patient can contact the advice line on 0121 4245473 and Thompsons has set up a helpline on 08000 224224.

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