Volume 395, Issue 10223, p. 467
February 15, 2020
Clinicians and health-care managers displayed “a capacity for willful blindness” that allowed Ian Paterson to hide in plain sight—that is the uncomfortable opening statement of the independent inquiry into Paterson's malpractice, published on Feb 4, 2020. Paterson worked as a consultant surgeon from 1993 to 2011 in both private and National Health Service hospitals in West Midlands, UK. During that period, he treated thousands of patients, many of whom had surgery. Paterson demonstrated an array of abhorrent and unsafe activities over this time, including exaggerating patients' diagnoses to coerce them into having surgery, performing his own version of a mastectomy, which goes against internationally agreed oncological principles, and inappropriate conduct towards patients and staff.
The inquiry makes a range of valuable recommendations that cover regulatory reform, corporate accountability, information for patients, informed consent, complaints, and clinical indemnity. The crucial message is that these reforms must occur across both the NHS and the private sector and must be implemented earnestly and urgently. But many of the issues in the Paterson case cannot be regulated and flow from the murky waters of medical professionalism. At times during the 87 pages of patient testimony, patients suggested in hindsight they could see that other clinicians knew there was a problem with Paterson but did not say anything. The hurt and disappointment that patients felt with the medical profession are chilling.
The info is here.