A Netflix docuseries and a former lover exposed Italian surgeon Dr. Paolo Macchiarini for his alleged lies and medical malpractice, USA Today reported Wednesday.
The surgeon allegedly promised revolutionary medical treatments to his patients, according to USA Today. However, these promises unraveled into a series of deceptions and dangerous medical practices, as detailed by Macchiarini’s former fiancée in the Netflix documentary “Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife.”
Benita Alexander got engaged to Macchiarini Christmas 2013, USA Today reported. Their relationship started off with a promise of a surprise wedding planned by Macchiarini. Known for his grand romantic gestures, Macchiarini’s secrecy about the wedding details started to trouble Alexander. Her concerns grew when she couldn’t get straightforward answers about their wedding plans. (RELATED: REPORT: Celebrity Doctor Famous For ‘The Kardashians’ Appearance Behind Bars For NBA Fraud Scheme)
“There’s a lot of gaslighting and brainwashing,” Alexander said, per USA Today. “It’s a slow, meticulous process. It’s not like he hits you over the head with these lies all at once. It’s a very cunning weaving of a web like a spider.”
The turning point came when Alexander learned from a friend that the pope, who was supposedly involved in their wedding, would be abroad on their wedding day, USA Today reported. This revelation confirmed her growing doubts and made her realize the extent of the deception.
Alexander’s suspicions about Macchiarini escalated when he claimed that his real identity was a CIA sniper, a cover for his surgical career. This absurd claim led Alexander to conclude that Macchiarini was not only lying but might also be mentally unstable.
Macchiarini gained notoriety for performing synthetic trachea transplants, a procedure he claimed could offer a new lease on life for those with severe windpipe damage. Beginning in 2011, he conducted these transplants on at least eight individuals. He used plastic tracheas seeded with the patients’ own stem cells for this procedure. All but one of these patients died, with the survivor having the transplant removed.
Lover. Liar. Genius. Convict. The extraordinary story behind the rise and fall of the ‘superstar surgeon’ Paolo Macchiarini. BAD SURGEON: LOVE UNDER THE KNIFE premieres tomorrow only on Netflix
— Coming soon to Netflix (@Ravi971076571) November 28, 2023
“He fooled his patients very much the same way he fooled me,” says Alexander, per USA Today. “They were convinced that he was the greatest hope of their loved ones surviving. He made them believe that he could help them the way he made me believe that he loved me and that he loved my daughter, and he was going to take care of us for the rest of our lives.”
Yulia Tuulik, who passed away in 2014, described a “rotting” sensation and a foul odor emanating from her body after the procedure, per USA Today. Another patient, Yesim Cetir, underwent 191 surgeries and suffered multiple strokes before her death in 2017. Macchiarini’s approach allegedly skipped vital animal trials and he reportedly misrepresented his credentials. This led to accusations of using his patients as “human guinea pigs.”
In 2022, he was tried and convicted for causing bodily harm to three patients, per USA Today. He received a suspended sentence initially, which was later extended to two and a half years in prison by a Swedish appeals court.
Despite these developments, Macchiarini maintains his medical license and can continue practicing, per USA Today.