The infamous Paolo Macchiarini, who once believed his hands were nothing short of instruments of God, was eventually revealed to be nothing but a murderer. A Peacock original drama series, Dr. Death season 2, centers around the real-life story of one of the most horrifying medical scams, involving an Italian thoracic surgeon, Paolo Macchiarini. Paolo introduced an innovative stem cell trachea transplantation for patients with severe tracheal damage or cancer. Initially, his invention was lauded by his fellow medical personnel, who believed it to be a groundbreaking medical miracle, but his experimental methods were highly questionable. Portrayed by Edgar Ramirez, Paolo Macchiarini is a shady character with some real evil plans to ruin so many innocent human lives by giving them false hope only to become a celebrity overnight.
Who Is Paolo Macchiarini?
Paolo Macchiarini was initially considered a genius in medical science and regenerative research. Paolo’s procedures for using an artificial trachea were still not approved on a broader scale, but Paolo believed that he was ready to move on to human subjects. As soon as the Karolinska Institute approved the stem cells, Paolo began to promote his newly invented surgical procedure. His fellow doctors started believing him and agreed to cooperate with him on the surgeries he did. Two-year-old Hannah Warren, who had a congenital absence of the trachea, became one of the guinea pigs in Paolo’s research. Paolo surgically placed a synthetic seeded artificial trachea in her throat, and the surgery was initially successful. However, within months, her condition worsened, and she died. Paolo had operated on a total of eight patients, some of whom had cancer and others who had gone through accidents. Only one of them had survived, and that too after he had removed his artificial airpipe implanted by Dr. Macchiarini.
After a lot of deaths, it was finally revealed that Paolo had falsified the test results many times, which led to the procedure being approved by the institution. It was revealed that these stem cells were nothing but plastic tubes that would end up rotting inside a human’s body, causing them to die. In 2014, Paolo was accused of committing research fraud and doing bodily harm to several of his patients. However, Karolinska never held him responsible for his actions, resulting in Paolo getting away with these murders because he was not directly linked to the murders in the eyes of the law.
What did Paolo do to Benita?
There’s not much of a difference between the real-life Paolo and the one depicted in Dr. Death. In the series, Paolo’s affair with Benita was not only a creative addition to the story, but it was also inspired by Paolo’s real-life fiancé Benita’s story. Benita and Paolo’s affair started with Benita making a documentary on the man and his innovative tracheal transplantation on a little girl, Hannah Warren, but soon after Hannah’s death, Benita realized there’s no point in continuing the story. Paolo was a manipulative fraudster who managed to impress Benita and tried to pursue a relationship with her. Paolo was not only a fraudster in his professional life; he was a toxic man in his personal life too. He only used Benita to get some attention from her so that Benita could make him a star overnight through her documentaries, but in that pursuit, he completely overlooked the matter that Benita, as a journalist, would soon begin to question him for his shady and secretive activities.
In the series, Benita finally uncovered some deep, dark secrets regarding Paolo’s life and confronted him. Not only that, but she also managed to bring him down by publishing an article on her fraudster ex-fiancée’s medical scam as well as the way he had betrayed her. Even though the whistleblowers in Karolinska put in their efforts to expose Paolo’s wrongdoing, they knew it was impossible for them to win in the unequal battle against Paolo, but the article published by Benita helped them a little more. Paolo’s true face was finally revealed to the world, and all of his fans, who believed him to be a genius in medical research, finally came to know that Paolo was nothing but an opportunistic, psychopathic, and manipulative conman who had just willingly mishandled human lives in his effort to make a name for himself. Paolo was indeed a dangerous guy who couldn’t be trusted for a second. To cover his lies, he told Benita one unrealistic lie after another, even going so far as to tell her that he was a CIA agent. Benita was not a fool, so she walked away from the relationship and took her revenge in a way that she could tell her story to the world as well as save many people from this man.
Where is Paolo Macchiarini now?
Initially, in 2016, Paolo was accused of murdering his patients, but he was not convicted as there was no evidence that he committed direct manslaughter. The court adjourned the case, considering the patients might have died under any other circumstances. However, in 2019, Paolo was charged with falsifying lab reports and was given a prison sentence. Finally, in 2020, the prosecution appealed for reopening the case, charging Paolo with committing aggravated assault against his patients. The court finally found him guilty of causing bodily harm to his patients, especially Yesim Cetir, who had to go through a series of different surgeries after her trachea transplantation. He was given a suspended sentence and a two-year, six-month probationary period, after which he would probably be back on his feet to commit his crimes. Probably not in the United States, or not in Sweden, but in other countries where media power isn’t that strong, he would probably restart his medical career all over again, fooling ordinary people around him to gain fame.
At the end of Dr. Death season 2, we saw Paolo inside a cell, washing his hands soaked with blood. He had so much blood on his hands that he would probably never be able to wash it away properly. Thanks to Peacock’s efforts to showcase such a horrifying reality through this presentation, many people from all around the world will be aware of such medical scams and understand that not every innovative medical procedure can be trusted blindly, just because a medical practitioner says so.