Two years before new mum Leanne Joseph gave birth, she underwent surgery to remove her milk ducts as her doctor had warned her they contained "pre-cancerous cells."
Leanne had looked up well-recommended surgeon near their home in England to check out her breasts, after noticing a weird discharge.
Dr Ian Paterson, who Leanne said was kind and put her at ease, had her do an ultrasound before revealing she would need to have an operation to have her milk ducts removed.
“It felt like a cancer diagnosis. I thought I would die. I was only 25 – it was a crushing blow,” she told The Sun.
Leanne and her partner managed to get the $17,000 needed for the surgery and her recovery time.
It wasn't until she welcomed her daughter that she realised the impact the surgery had on being a mother, and eventually, that she was scammed and it wasn't needed at all.
Leanne says she felt "inadequate" for not being able to breastfeed her newborn, saying "I felt I should not have brought a baby into the world knowing I could not give it the best start to life."
She developed OCD worrying about her daughter Ruby's health, before receiving a call from her doctor's practise.
"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."
She says she still has nightmares about the doctor who ruined her life, saying, "I shout out in my sleep and wake up in a pool of sweat."
Last week, Ian Paterson, 59, was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three of unlawful wounding for carrying out hundreds of unnecessary operations on hospital patients.
He is due to be sentenced next month.
This article originally appeared on marie claire.