Paolo Macchiarini, the subject of Netflix’s newest true-crime documentary, Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife, was once hailed as a pioneering thoracic surgeon. However, he was eventually found to have botched several procedures, with many of his patients later dying.
At the time of his supposed ground-breaking medical discoveries and transplants, he wooed NBC News producer Benita Alexander, who was reporting on his windpipe procedures at the time for a 2014 special titled A Leap of Faith.
Macchiarini, who was married at the time when they initially met, told Alexander that he had got divorced. They became engaged shortly after. In 2015, she called off their engagement after she began suspecting that the Swiss-born doctor had lied about their wedding, his career and marital status. “I was engaged to a monster,” Alexander says in the trailer of the streamer’s three-part docuseries.
Now 65, the disgraced surgeon has made recent waves in the media. Not only as the subject of Netflix’s new exposé but his story will also be at the centre of season two of Peacock’s hit drama series Doctor Death, based on the popular podcast of the same name.
It’s been more than a decade since he first transplanted a synthetic trachea into a patient, but with this newfound wave of media attention, many viewers may be wondering where Macchiarini is now and if he’s still practicing medicine.
What is Macchiarini doing now?
A year after his split from Alexander, in 2016, he was officially fired from his post at Sweden’s Karolinska University amid claims of scientific negligence and falsification of his CV.
In December 2018, Sweden decided to reopen a previously discontinued investigation into three cases. Authorities alleged that Macchiarini had operated inappropriately on the same three people between 2011 and 2014, who later died.
He was indicted in September 2020 for aggravated assault in connection with three surgeries at Karolinska University Hospital.
Two years later, in June 2022, Macchiarini was found guilty of causing bodily harm in one case. He was acquitted, however, on two of three charges.
Then, in June 2023, a Swedish court of appeals overturned the District Court’s judgment and sentenced Macchiarini to 2.5 years in prison for three counts of aggravated assault. Prosecutors were unable to secure any manslaughter charges, though, because the patients who died in his care had suffered other ailments making it difficult to determine one cause of death.
Macchiarini has denied any criminal wrongdoing.
In 2019, he was also sentenced to 16 months in prison after an Italian court found him guilty of forging documents and for abuse of office.
Is he still a surgeon?
Macchiarini is not believed to be practicing medicine anymore.
Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife is out on Netflix.