Notts woman says unnecessary breast cancer ops at the hands of surgeon Ian Paterson left her "tormented"
A NOTTS woman says she has suffered a decade of torment after falsely believing she had cancer.
Paula Gelsthorpe had invasive surgery twice to remove lumps from her left breast in September 2002 and January 2009 – but has since found out the lumps were benign and the operations unnecessary.
Miss Gelsthorpe, 54, of Long Croft, Calverton, has spoken out after it emerged that surgeon Ian Paterson is being investigated by the General Medical Council.
Miss Gelsthorpe, who was born in Bilsthorpe, said: "The letter telling me the lumps were benign was a huge relief but the more I thought about it, the angrier I became.
"I lived for ten years thinking that I had cancer and just kept on wondering when they would find a third lump. It was mental torture.
"And that's on top of the actual operations themselves, which have obviously caused a lot of discomfort and scarring. I just want answers to find out how this happened."
The operations on Miss Gelsthorpe took place at the Spire Parkway Hospital, in Solihull.
Miss Gelsthorpe, who works as a dog groomer, said: "My family have been really supportive.
"It's been hard to deal with, but they have been there for me. It's just a shame that it's taken so long for this to come to light."
Mr Paterson is alleged by a law firm representing some of his former patients to have performed up to 1,150 "unnecessary, inappropriate or unregulated" operations while working at various NHS and private hospitals.
It is further alleged that up to 450 women could have had invasive surgery when a biopsy might have been sufficient.
Kashmir Uppal, a senior medical negligence solicitor at Thompsons, said she believed patients had been subjected to needless worry and risk.
She said: "Hopefully, all who have had unnecessary or inappropriate treatment will seek reassurance or justice."
In a statement confirming the police inquiry into Mr Paterson, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Markham said: "West Midlands Police can confirm it has received a referral from the General Medical Council in relation to allegations about the medical practices of a surgeon who previously worked in Solihull.
"A criminal inquiry has been launched."
Mr Paterson has not been arrested but his registration with the General Medical Council was suspended following an Interim Orders Panel meeting on October 29.
A General Medical Council spokesman said: "This means the doctor cannot work as we investigate concerns about his fitness to practise."
In a statement issued on behalf of Mr Paterson, the Medical Defence Union (MDU) said he was co-operating fully with the GMC investigation.
A spokeswoman for the MDU said: "He cannot comment further due to his duty of patient confidentiality and the ongoing investigation."