VICTIMS of controversial ‘cleave-sparing mastectomy’ surgeon Ian Paterson are stepping up their battle for justice by launching a petition against Spire Healthcare during a Macmillan Coffee Morning at the Greswolde Hotel in Knowle on Friday (September 25).
The coffee morning has been organised by one of Dr Paterson’s victims Sarah Jane Downing – herself an unwitting recipient of his negligent, potentially deadly and unapproved method of breast cancer surgery, which left his ‘patients’ at a much greater risk of their cancer returning.
Paterson performed hundreds of operations which breached medical guidelines at Spire’s Parkway and Little Aston hospitals and at the Heart of England NHS Trust.
He also performed totally unnecessary mastectomies – telling some patients they had cancer when they did not.
Some of his patients have seen their cancer return and others have sadly lost their lives.
Friday’s coffee morning will see many of his victims, their families and supporters of the fight against him, raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and will also see the launch of a petition, demading action and compensation from the private Sipre Hospitals group where Paterson worked.
Solihull Hospital, where the rogue doctor also worked, has already apologised to his patients, launched a full enquiry and is in the throws of settling the hundreds of compensation claims – with well over a million pounds already having been paid out.
Spire Hospitals have, however, refused to admit any liability or pay any compensation, saying that Paterson simply hired a room at their hospitals from where he carried out his dicing with death surgeries.
Former patient Sarah Jane , an author from Solihull, will launch the petition during the coffee morning at the Arden Suite at The Greswolde Hotel in Knowle at 12.30pm on Friday.
She wants to highlight the dispute to politicians, as well as raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Jane had surgery with Paterson at Spire Parkway in Solihull in 1998 after finding a lump in her breast.
The surgeon, suspended by the General Medical Council in 2012, performed a surgical procedure that has since been found to be wholly unnecessary – instead of removing potentially cancerous tissue, he removed perfectly healthy breast tissue.
Sarah Jane said: “We are all devastated by what Mr Paterson did to us.
“Some of the women Mr Paterson operated on are now battling secondary cancer because he failed to remove all of the cancerous tissue and others, like myself, underwent unnecessary procedures and endured the worry of a cancer misdiagnosis.
“Spire continue to add to our suffering by denying any responsibility for what happened. I’m horrified by the way Spire has treated us.
“Hopefully, by coming together we can honour the memory of those who did not survive Mr Paterson’s treatment, share support and friendship and raise some money for a cause that has touched us all so personally.”
Kashmir Uppal, from the clinical negligence team at Thompsons Solicitors, is representing hundreds of women against Paterson, Spire and the Heart of England NHS Trust.
She said: “It’s disappointing that the three potential defendants in these cases won’t agree to settling the claims, and then dealing with the issue of apportionment between them.
“This would allow my clients to get on with their lives.
“The delay adds to my clients’ suffering, and in some tragic cases, suffering recurrences that might’ve been prevented by proper treatment.
“The defendants need to stop avoiding the issue and pay compensation for the damage Mr Paterson has caused.”
Mrs Downing has invited Rob Roger, CEO of Spire Healthcare, to the event to explain how with such an increase in profits the company is still not willing to provide victims with the compensation they deserve.
Tony Yates, Hospital Director of Spire Parkway Hospital told The Observer: “Issues around Mr Paterson’s practice are highly complex and are on an unprecedented scale, extending to many hundreds of patients both in the NHS and at various private facilities, including Spire Parkway and Little Aston hospitals.
“In its eagerness to see resolution for patients of Mr Paterson, Spire has led the way in seeking from the Court a case management process which will secure an expedited trial of the complex and novel issues arising from his conduct.
“We have, with the agreement of all the other parties to the litigation, formulated a structure to bring an end the delays and uncertainly that are unacceptable to everyone involved.
“The Court has now set out a timetable for a process to establish responsibility and liability, and which we hope will fully involve Mr Paterson himself. This process will lead to compensation, where appropriate, being paid.
“However, what happened in our hospitals – and indeed elsewhere – should not have happened, and we continue to learn the lessons from it.
“I would take the opportunity to repeat the apology that Spire Healthcare has already given for the distress suffered by Mr Paterson’s patients treated in our hospitals.”