For several years, Dr. Paolo Macchiarini was known as a scientific pioneer, a supersurgeon and a miracle worker. He was turning the dream of regenerative medicine into a reality. While much of the scientific community was eager to believe he had made breakthroughs, not everyone was convinced.
Most of Macchiarini’s patients died within a few years of their surgeries and the experimental procedures actually made their conditions much worse. Investigations revealed that he had actually falsified his data as well as his medical credentials.
While at the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Macchiarini invented his technique. Instead of stripping the cells from donor windpipes, he had plastic scaffolds made to order. He gave his “regenerating” windpipes to at least 17 patients worldwide. The results have been disastrous.
In 2014, Paolo Macchiarini was hailed as gifted medical pioneer in an NBC special produced by Benita Alexander. Paolo and Benita became romantically involved and planned to marry. But as the wedding day approached, the plans unraveled. Benita realized that Paolo had lied to her about a lot of things. For one thing, he was still married to his wife of 30 years.
Why does an intelligent and skilled surgeon create a house of cards in his personal life and perform surgeries that he knows will result in suffering and death for his patients? As one surgeon put it, he would choose to die by firing squad before experiencing a death caused by one of Macchiarini’s tracheal transplants. His experimental surgeries have been compared to the crimes of Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele. Yet he remains free. Join us at the quiet end today for a fascinating and horrifying discussion: Bad Medicine: The Downfall of Paolo Macchiarini.