The most chilling revelations made in ‘Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife’
(Credit: Netflix)

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The most chilling revelations made in ‘Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife’

Netflix’s latest documentary series, Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife, has people tuning in with morbid curiosity.

The series premiered on Netflix on November 29th, 2023, and has held viewers in a grip since. This medical docuseries exposes the grim truth behind Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, a once-celebrated thoracic surgeon known for his groundbreaking work in regenerative medicine. 

As viewers delve into the highs and lows of Macchiarini’s career, the revelations have continued to become increasingly disturbing, highlighting the extent of his medical fraud. This is just the latest in Netflix’s growing library of chilling true crime documentaries.

Here are some of the most disturbing revelations made on Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife.

Did Dr. Macchiarini lie about his high-profile clientele?

Macchiarini’s web of deception extended beyond the operating room as he spun tales of treating high-profile clients, including the Clintons, in order to boost his credibility with potential patients. 

Given his celebrity status, these claims initially seemed plausible. However, Macchiarini’s lies began to unravel when he promised his fiancé that the Pope would officiate their wedding—a claim that proved too outlandish. But it was his charm and fabricated celebrity clientele claims that helped Macchiarini fly under the radar and avoid scrutiny for years.

Did Dr Macchiarini dupe romantic partners?

While having multiple romantic partners is no crime, actively pursuing relationships that have a conflict of interest is definitely sketchy behaviour.

Macchiarini engaged in romantic relationships with multiple women, often blurring the lines between professional and personal boundaries. His relationship with Ana Bernardes, the grieving mother of a patient who died under his care, unveiled a disturbing pattern of manipulation. Just as he had done with journalist Benita Alexander, Macchiarini strategically used these connections to shield himself from the repercussions of his medical malpractice.

Did Dr Macchiarini break medical rules?

Macchiarini bypassed essential scientific procedures, endangering the lives of his patients. The docuseries exposes his failure to conduct clinical trials on animals before subjecting humans to his experimental plastic trachea. Macchiarini demonstrated a reckless disregard for the established protocols meant to ensure patient safety by using his patients as unwitting guinea pigs. The Karolinska Institute’s failure to intervene reflects a systemic breakdown in oversight, allowing such dangerous practices to persist.

Perhaps the most chilling revelation made on Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife is that Macchiarini deliberately disregarded the fact that his revolutionary plastic tracheas did not really work. Despite being aware of their faults, he proceeded with surgeries, putting patients at risk.

Macchiarini also failed to provide post-operative care to his patients, which is the most basic duty of a responsible surgeon. Macchiarini abandoned his patients in their most vulnerable moments. After persuading them to undergo risky procedures, he vanished, leaving colleagues to deal with the severe post-operative complications that ensued. The stark contrast between his pre-surgery charm and post-surgery negligence is but a symptom of the healthcare system in many parts of the world, where medical professions have increasingly been valuing profits over patient wellbeing.