In the Peacock original drama Dr. Death, one of the most gut-wrenching episodes was Episode 5, which showcased a Turkish patient, Yesim Cetir, and her family putting their immense faith in Dr. Macchiarini, only to experience a devastating betrayal. Portrayed by Alisha Erozer, Yesim Cetir is based on the story of a real-life Turkish patient with severe tracheal damage, which has been brought to light in Dr. Death Season 2 Episode 5. Yesim Cetir’s journey was based on a true story, while the makers took some creative liberties and added depth to her character arc, which helped us get to know her better and to empathize with the pain she had suffered from.
What happened to Yesim Cetir?
We don’t have proper background details on Yesim Cetir, but the series has masterfully established her journey, showing us how Yesim might have been in real life. Yesim, in this series, has a loving and caring father who remained a pillar of strength for her till the very end of her life. Life had become cruel and difficult for her since 2011 when Yesim suffered severe tracheal damage during a routine surgical procedure. Yesim was desperate to bring back normalcy to her life, and no doctor in this world had ever given her the hope that her throat might get back to normal. Therefore, after learning about “Miracle Man” Paolo Macchiarini’s innovative and regenerative stem cell trachea transplantation, Yesim found hope in her life. Even though her father found it risky, all he wanted was for his daughter to recover from the physical and mental pain she had been going through. Yesim was admitted to Karolinska Institute, where she was eager to meet Paolo Macchiarini, the best doctor in the world, according to her. Paolo’s hospitality and charm were enough to impress anyone, so Yesim was no exception. The way Paolo explained the procedure of transplantation and the process of stem cells growing inside the human body, Yesim and her father put their faith in Dr. Macchiarini’s methods. In the midst of all the doctors who had already believed this stem cell trachea to be a medical wonder, only Nathan Gamelli had a strong suspicion about Paolo. Nathan befriended Yesim and got emotionally attached to her, but Yesim still believed that no one could treat her better than Dr. Macchiarini. During the trachea transplantation, it was revealed that Yesim’s left lung had been damaged as well. Without consulting other doctors, Paolo decided to remove the lung and replace her damaged trachea with a synthetic windpipe. However, after the successful surgery, Yesim’s health deteriorated. The synthetic trachea was slowly rotting inside her throat and affecting other organs as well.
Why was Yesim upset with Nathan?
Following the surgery, Yesim Cetir underwent a series of several other surgical procedures to replace her other affected organs. Yesim was only a young woman with thousands of dreams in her life. She was an amazing painter, whose drawing books were filled with sketches of mermaids and self-portraits. But over time, she lost the ability to even move her pen on the paper. Yesim always kept a crystal stone on the table beside her bed; probably, this stone reminded her of the ocean and how bad she wanted to take a dive into the sea after everything got back to normal, but unfortunately, her dreams didn’t materialize. She kept on dreaming, lying on the hospital bed, but due to bedsores and multiple organ failures, she couldn’t even get up to walk properly. Every time Nathan laid his eyes on her, it broke his heart and devastated him. He knew that the plastic trachea was to blame, but his hands were tied as he had no strong proof against Paolo Macchiarini. Yesim’s facial features began to change; her eyeballs displaced, her hair became thinner, and her frontal bone became more prominent. Seeing Yesim’s slow death right in front of his eyes, she was transferred to the United States for further treatment. However, Nathan was hopeful that Yesim might survive after the removal of her trachea, so he decided to say his goodbyes to Yesim and give her hope to live, but Yesim was still expecting Dr. Macchiarini by her side. In the absence of Macchiarini, Yesim was infuriated, as deep down she knew that the plastic trachea was ruining her life, but she refused to face the truth and still had hope that it might cure her. When Nathan talked about the possibility of a trachea removal procedure in the US, it further enraged Yesim, who demanded Nathan leave her alone and never show his face to her. It crushed Nathan’s soul, but knowing the situation Yesim was in, he forgave her and tried to empathize with her emotional breakdown.
Did Yesim Cetir survive?
Tragically, after going through multiple organ failures and surgeries in the US, even after getting her trachea removed, Yesim Cetir died in 2017. In the series, long after Yesim’s transfer from the KI, Nathan learns about her death, which was inevitable, but it still devastated him to the core. Yesim Cetir had mistakenly left her favorite crystal in the hospital, so Nathan took it and kept it to himself to cherish his memoris of her. However, even though the death was imminent, Nathan never gave up on Yesim. To give her the justice she deserved, along with the other patients whom Paolo Macchiarini had caused harm, Nathan, along with his two other fellow doctors, Ana and Svensson, filed a complaint against Paolo to expose the truth behind this filthy game he had been playing with his patients and their trust.
Yesim Cetir’s family had coped with the loss they had suffered, but they demanded justice. The four whistleblowers, who had fought the case against Paolo Macchiarini, delivered justice to those families, including Yesim’s, and finally put an end to those medically non-certified surgical procedures of plastic trachea transplantation. Most likely, Yesim’s father would never get his daughter back, but the revelation about this filthy practice saved many lives. With the help of this harrowing yet outstanding series, Dr. Death, this incident has almost become a globally renowned medicolegal case, which advises people from every corner of the world to be careful of such fraudster medical advisors as Paolo Macchiarini.