WE WANT JUSTICE.
That was the emotional cry of victims of controversial breast surgeon Ian Paterson as they protested outside Spire Parkway private hospital in Solihull on Tuesday (March 3).
More than 30 of Dr Paterson’s former patients and their loved ones gathered at the hospital on Damson Parkway, demanding justice and compensation for the ‘life-changing, negligent and sub-standard’ breast cancer surgery they received under his ‘care’.
Hundreds of women’s lives were put at risk by Paterson’s reckless operating techniques at Solihull Hospital and Spire’s Parkway and Little Aston hospitals – techniques which included the ‘cleavage-sparing mastectomy’ which left women with a greater chance of their cancer returning as not enough tissue had been removed and which he did not tell them he was carrying out.
As well as performing his controversial mastectomies without patients’ knowledge, Paterson is also alleged to have gone against other patients’ wishes when they insisted he removed all of their breast tissue, shockingly operated on people who did not need operations and carried out operations – colonoscopies – he was not permitted to do so.
He is accused of operating on at least 450 women when they were perfectly healthy.
Concerns were first raised about his controversial technique as far back as 2003.
But despite an audit and subsequent review, nothing was done and he carried on with his cleavage-sparing mastectomies under the noses of hospital bosses.
Further concerns about him were raised by a yet another surgeon in 2007 but were not properly acted upon and although Paterson was told to, and agreed to, stop his reckless operations there is evidence he carried on until at least 2010.
The Heart of England Foundation Trust, which runs Solihull hospital, has made full and unreserved apologies and is in the process of settling compensation with Paterson’s victims.
But Spire has failed to offer settlements to all-but-a-handful of patients at its hospitals due to legal wranglings.
One key factor is that Dr Paterson ‘currently lacks capacity to instruct his lawyers’, which has resulted in delays in progressing with litigation.
Because Paterson was not officially employed by Spire, despite carrying out his operations at its sites, his medical cover was provide by the Medical Defence Union (MDU).
And in yet another heartbreaking twist for his victims the MDU may not honour his insurance because his practices and operations fell outside of the insurance terms.
A Spire Healthcare spokesperson said: “Spire Healthcare has given a full and unreserved apology for any distressed suffered by patients who were treated by Mr Ian Paterson at its Parkway and Little Aston Hospitals.
“Mr Paterson was not and has never been an employee of Spire Healthcare but practised as an independent practitioner under the grant of practising privileges.
“Spire understands that the timescale for the management of these cases is extremely frustrating for all affected individuals.
“Given the complexity of the litigation, the number of parties involved, and the health issues of Mr Paterson these will take some time to resolve.”
Spire’s position has been slammed by Paterson’s patients who, in their open letter to the hospital, say: “We are innocent victims in all this and the drawn-out litigation process only compounds our suffering.
“We can and will issue court proceedings, but we shouldn’t need to do so if you behaved properly and with an ounce of sympathy.”
See our website – www.solihullobserver.co.uk – for a run-down of missed opportunities to expose Paterson’s dangerous operating techniques.