Paolo Macchiarini, former star surgeon at Swedish Karolinska Insitutet (KI), came back to Sweden to give his version of the events, about the failed tracheal transplants he performed, and some other things. He had two core messages: he extended the lives of the dying patients by transplanting them with untested plastic tracheas, and he did all this certainly not behind everyone’s back, but with full knowledge, approval and supervision of his colleagues at KI.
Macchiarini’s interviews can be read at the medical newspaper Läkartidningen, the tabloid Expressen and the most interesting one was with the TV channel SVT (which previously aired the documentary Experimenten, which kick-started the scandal).
Update 23.05.2016 Macchiarini’s SVT interview from May 4th was transcribed by the KI whistleblowers (who also highlighted those in their views most untruthful passages in red). With the permission of the SVT interviewer Nike Nylander I am making the transcript available here.
The interviews focussed around the plastic “stem cell”-regenerated tracheas Macchiarini implanted into 8 patients. The first recipient, Andemariam Teklesenbet Beyene, was operated in 2011 and died two years later, after the implant came loose. On SVT, Macchiarini now claimed Beyene’s life expectancy was less than 6 months, and the operation was approved by a “multidisciplinary team” at KI and the Karolinska University Hospital. The material was tested as safe, insisted Macchiarini. Not as trachea in the unsterile airway environment, but in other setups, such as blood vessel surgery, he declared. This synthetic trachea scaffold was manufactured by the lab of UCL nanotechnology professor Alexander Seifalian, later on by the US company Harvard Apparatus under a shared patent with Macchiarini (as I reported here). Continue reading “Macchiarini’s patients, the real situation”