In this Blog Kristy Ainge, of our Litigation Department, discusses the recent case of a surgeon convicted of GBH.
Ian Paterson, surgeon convicted of GBH – deception invalidates consent to surgery.
There is just no way of describing how shocking the news reports are about the conduct of the disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson. We will probably never know why he carried out major surgery on breast cancer patients knowing that it was not necessary. The equally mystifying question of how could it have happened will be the subject of a very thorough investigation. For those who are affected, the physical and emotional damage is complex.
At the heart of the grotesque breach of professional duties involved is the requirement for informed consent to surgery. The fact is that any surgical procedure is technically an assault regardless of how skilled the surgeon is and, where the procedure is planned (as opposed to emergency life-saving surgery), the patient must give informed consent. That often raises very subtle questions about how much information the patient should be given and their ability to understand and to exercise their own free choice. However, the fact that the need to even consider surgery was based on a deliberate deception makes it impossible for any consent to have been given at all. That is why Ian Paterson was convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm which is one of the most serious offences of criminal assault under the Offences Against The Person Act 1861 (commonly referred to as GBH).
Ian Paterson has yet to be sentenced for those offences which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. His victims are also entitled to financial compensation for the physical and emotional injuries that they have suffered. Not only is Ian Paterson personally liable for his gross breach of trust but also his employers i.e. the hospitals at which he carried out the surgery.
If you have been affected by this particular case, our Solicitor Advocate Kristy Ainge is available to speak to you confidentially about your circumstances and to advise you about your options with no obligation for you to instruct us. If you would like to arrange a meeting with Kristy please contact her direct on 024 7649 3105 or click here to email Kristy.