Who is Ian Paterson the butcher surgeon and what did he do?

Ian Paterson was jailed in 2017

A new ITV documentary, Bodies of Evidence: The Butcher Surgeon, uncovers the shocking story of Ian Paterson and his victims.

Paterson, who was based in Birmingham, is currently serving a 20-year sentence for his crimes, after carrying out needless operations over a 14-year period.

While working as a breast surgeon consultant, he was diagnosing cancer when there wasn't any and cutting patients open for no reason.

He was found guilty in 2017 of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding.

Five years on, this film from the ITV Exposure strand talks to victims, fellow doctors and a key whistleblower to tell the extraordinary story of how the system allowed Paterson to perform unnecessary and damaging surgery on so many for so long.

Here's a guide to who Ian Paterson is and how he performed damaging surgeries:

Who is Ian Paterson?

The breast surgeon, 62, is currently serving 20 years for his 14-year campaign of botched ops he carried out in the West Midlands

Paterson, who is due to be freed in 2027, was jailed in 2017 for wounding with intent and ­unlawfully wounding nine women and one man he treated between 1997 and 2011. 

He convinced cancer patients to undergo ops in NHS and private hospitals by inventing or exaggerating the risks of tumours to earn extra cash and maintain a successful reputation.

Where did Ian Paterson work?

Paterson was a consultant breast surgeon in the West Midlands, working in both NHS and private practice at Heartlands Hospital, Solihull Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, Spire Hospital Parkway and Spire Hospital Little Aston.

When was Ian Paterson suspended?

Ian Paterson was not suspended from carrying out his NHS or private work until 2011. Whistleblowers said they reported concerns about Paterson years before this.

What is the Paterson inquiry?

The Paterson inquiry investigated how the surgeon was able to carry out unnecessary surgeries undetected for so many years.

In 2020 it found "patients were let down over many years" by the NHS and private hospitals and opportunities to stop Paterson were "missed, time after time".

Inquiry chairman the Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said there was a culture of "avoidance and denial", which allowed the breast surgeon to carry out unnecessary and botched operations on hundreds of women.

The inquiry recommended the NHS Trust which employed Paterson and private health firm Spire Healthcare recall all of Paterson's patients.

How many victims did Ian Paterson have?

A total of 675 out of 1,207 women who underwent the unregulated treatment had died by 2017.

More than 750 victims have already successfully claimed after receiving unapproved and life-threatening surgery from Paterson - who treated more than 11,000 patients. 

BODIES OF EVIDENCE: THE BUTCHER SURGEON airs at 10.20pm on ITV on Sunday 12 June.

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