Bad Surgeon: Where is Dr Paolo Macchiarini now?

Daisy Phillipson
Dr Paolo Macchiarini in Bad Surgeon: Love Under the KnifeNetflix

Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife, a shocking new true crime documentary series, is causing a stir on Netflix – but where is Dr Paolo Macchiarini now?

Cults have been dominating the documentary arena in recent weeks. Both Netflix and Amazon Prime released their own series on the Twin Flames Universe, turning attention to founders Jeff and Shaleia Divide and their questionable practices. 

But perhaps none were quite as eye-opening as HBO’s Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God, a docu-series about the life and death of Amy Carlson, whose cult came crashing down when her mummified body was uncovered by police. 

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However, Netflix’s latest true crime entry is a far cry from these topics, instead looking at a Dr Death scenario with the rise and fall of Dr Paolo Macchiarini. So, where is the former surgeon now?

Bad Surgeon: Where is Dr Paolo Macchiarini now?

Dr Paolo Macchiarini, a Swiss-born Italian thoracic surgeon who was once hailed as a pioneer of stem cell research, is currently serving a 30 month prison sentence in Sweden after being found guilty of gross assault against three of his patients.

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Macchiarini gained international fame for his pioneering work in regenerative medicine, specifically in trachea transplants using synthetic scaffolds seeded with patients’ own stem cells. His initial success stories were hailed as groundbreaking, offering hope to patients with severe tracheal damage. 

In 2013, Benita Alexander was tasked with producing a documentary programme called A Leap of Faith, demonstrating his capabilities in the medical field. The pair began a love affair and Macchiarini and Alexander eventually got engaged. 

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But while Macchiarini’s work was initially celebrated for its potential to revolutionize organ transplants, his career took a dramatic turn when allegations surfaced about his medical practices and research ethics. 

Investigations revealed that Macchiarini had performed experimental surgeries without proper authorization or adequate patient consent. Many of his trachea transplant patients suffered severe complications or died, leading to allegations of medical misconduct.

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What’s more, some of his lofty claims to Alexander – including that he was the personal surgeon of the POTUS at the time, Barack Obama – came into question. 

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As stated by Netflix: “In the early aughts, Dr Paolo Macchiarini was a big deal: He was rumored to be Barack Obama and the Pope’s surgeon. His advancements in his field were revolutionary. And outside of his career achievements, he was seemingly the perfect man – according to his former fiancée, investigative producer Benita Alexander. But why did Macchiarini’s patients keep dying?”

Macchiarini’s downfall was marked by a series of professional and legal repercussions. He was dismissed from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, where he had conducted much of his work, and his research papers were retracted from scientific journals due to ethical concerns and falsified data. 

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Dr Paolo Macchiarini and his patient in Bad Surgeon: Love Under the KnifeNetflix

“Eventually, the allegations landed him in Swedish appeals court, where he was charged with aggravated assault and bodily harm against his former patients,” adds Netflix. After he was found guilty, Macchiarini was sentenced to two years and six months in prison in June 2023, meaning he is still serving out his time. 

Macchiarini was found to have been deceiving people in his personal life too, with Alexander eventually discovering that he was already married, and that his claims about celebrity clients were all just part of his web of lies. 

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To learn more about the life and crimes of Macchiarini, Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife is available for streaming on Netflix now, and you can check out more of our true crime coverage below: 

Love Has Won’s “3D” hospital | How did John Gotti die? | Who Killed Jill Dando? | Where is Gypsy Rose Blanchard now? | Russell Brand most shocking moments | Scouts Honor | The Lucie Blackman Case | The Isabella Nardoni Case | Where is Natalia Grace? | Who are the Duggars? | Victim/Suspect explained | Missing Dead or Alive explained | The Playing Card Killer | Take Care of Maya | HBO’s Burden of Proof explained | How to watch David Fuller: Monster in the Morgue | How to watch Hart family murders documentary | The Deepest Breath | True story of Last Call

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About The Author

Daisy is a Senior TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's a lover of all things macabre, whether that be horror, crime, psychological thrillers or all of the above. After graduating with a Masters in Magazine Journalism, she's gone on to write for Digital Spy, LADbible and Little White Lies. You can contact her on