LONDON – A judge sentenced a British breast surgeon whose victims accused him of playing God to 15 years in prison Wednesday for carrying out unnecessary operations that maimed patients and left some in constant pain.
A jury in the central English city of Nottingham found Ian Paterson guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and three counts of unlawful wounding. Prosecutors say the 59-year-old lied to patients to persuade them to have surgery.
"You deliberately played upon their worst fears, either by inventing or deliberately exaggerating the risk that they would develop cancer," Judge Jeremy Baker said.
The judge said Paterson was driven by "self-aggrandizement" and material rewards. The surgeon owned a luxury home in Birmingham as well as properties in Cardiff, Manchester and the United States.
Hundreds of Paterson's patients were recalled in 2012 after concerns about unnecessary or incomplete operations. Ten victims testified about surgeries between 1997 and 2011.
One victim, Carole Johnson, described Paterson as a "monster" who performed six surgeries on her in seven years. All but one were unnecessary.
"I do not think I can find it within my heart to ever forgive him," Johnson said.
Prosecutor Pamela Jain said Paterson abused the trust between patient and doctor and called his impact devastating.