ian paterson itv

ITV’s latest true crime tells the sickening story of the Butcher Surgeon

This doctor performed mastectomies for fun

It seems like Netflix has been dominated by harrowing true crimes lately – but ITV’s newest documentary hits much closer to home.

Bodies of Evidence: The Butcher Surgeon is currently available to stream, and Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty) will be producing a drama on the case.

The documentary tells the story of Ian Paterson – a seemingly normal surgeon who diagnosed hundreds, if not thousands, of people with cancer during his career. It wasn’t until 2011 when he was found out to be wrongly telling women they had breast cancer, just so he could perform mastectomies (breast removal operations) on them for fun.

ian paterson

Photo via ITV

Who is Ian Paterson?

Paterson – now better known as the Butcher Surgeon – was a consultant surgeon living in the West Midlands. He worked both for the NHS and private practices, one of which was Solihull Hospital.

During his practice, Paterson performed surgery on 1,207 women and an unspecified number of men between 1993 and 2011. These operations were actually totally unnecessary, and often told his patients they needed live-saving treatment when they didn’t.

The surgeon’s behaviour had been brought up many times by his colleagues over several years – but he wasn’t suspended until 2011. Around 675 of his patients who underwent botched operations by Paterson, died before 2017. Despite this, he was only found guilty on 17 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding.

He’s currently serving 20 years in prison.

When will the drama come out?

The series is still currently in development, but looks to feature Paterson’s crimes through the eyes of Debbie Douglas.

Debbie was “cut from hip-to-hip” by the surgeon, before learning her breast cancer wasn’t serious enough to justify a mastectomy. She didn’t even need to go through chemo, but Paterson put her on a course of seven months.

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Featured image via ITV.