A "monster" surgeon told this new mum he was 'saving her from cancer'. It was all a lie.

What should have been a joyful moment – the birth of her baby girl – soon turned to dismay when Leanne Joseph realised she would never be able to breastfeed her newborn.

Two years before she welcomed her baby, Leanne had undergone surgery to remove her milk ducts which her doctor told her contained “pre-cancerous cells”.

But after developing OCD and feeling “inadequate” at the inability to breastfeed her baby for years, she would soon discover that her surgeon had lied about the procedure and she could have breastfed her daughter all along.

It started when Leanne was just 25 years old. She was getting ready to be a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding when she noticed a spot of “muddy” discharge in her bra.

After speaking to her husband Mark, and finding good online reviews for a surgeon near their home in Sutton Coldfield in England, she decided to get it checked out.

Speaking to The Sun, Leanne said she warmed to her doctor, Ian Paterson, straight away.

“He had an excellent bedside manner and it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. He was kind and put me at ease,” she said.

“He said he would send me for an ultrasound and see me shortly after to discuss the results.”

But soon Leanne was told that she had pre-cancerous cells in her milk ducts. Her doctor told she would need to have an operation to have them removed.

“It felt like a cancer diagnosis. I thought I would die. I was only 25 – it was a crushing blow,” Leanne said.

Image via iStock.

The couple - only newly married themselves - managed to scrape together the $17,000 needed for the surgery and time off work to recover.

Things changed for Leanne two years later when she welcomed her daughter, Ruby, during an experience she describes as "the worst of her life".

"I was on a maternity ward with five other women who were all breastfeeding and I kept on having to explain why I couldn't do it," she said.


"That first night an older nurse came over and asked why I wasn't breastfeeding Ruby.

"I explained yet again as everyone on the ward listened in, and I remember her saying, 'Aren't you the lucky one, but your poor baby won't be getting those special nutrients'.

"I felt so inadequate. I felt I should not have brought a baby into the world knowing I could not give it the best start to life."

ian paterson guilty
Ian Paterson was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent last week. Image via BBC News.

She developed obsessive-compulsive disorder, and was terrified that baby Ruby would "die from an infection" as a result of her not being able to breastfeed and protect her daughter.


Three years later, in 2011, Leanne was still struggling to adjust to life when she received a horrifying phone call from her doctor's health practice.

"A doctor broke the news that there had never been anything wrong with me. There wasn't anything Paterson didn’t lie to me about," she said.

"I was told my scans were completely normal. He treated me for things I didn't actually have.

"My ducts were still connected and I could have breastfed the whole time."

Last week, 59-year-old Ian Paterson was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three of unlawful wounding after he carried out hundreds of unnecessary operations on hospital patients.

He is due to be sentenced next month.

Now 36, Leanne said she still has nightmares about the "evil" doctor she says "destroyed" her life.

"I shout out in my sleep and wake up in a pool of sweat. I see Paterson in my dreams every single night," she said.

"It's the same nightmare over and over again where I am in the operating theatre and he is there operating on me but I can't speak or escape.

"The man is a monster, he has destroyed my life. The mental scars are far worse than the physical."