Medicine University Affairs

How Macchiarini was recruited to Karolinska

In September 2010, trachea transplant surgeon Paolo Macchiarini was basically at the end of his career of fraud and patient abuse, unwanted by everyone. Except by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, which pushed the recruitment process through in just 3 weeks, despite warnings from colleagues in Florence, Barcelona and Hannover not to employ someone who was basically a lying psychopath. Yet Karolinska leadership was desperate for some positive reviews for Macchiarini. They finally got them from London, from UCL and GOSH.

In September 2010, the trachea transplant surgeon Paolo Macchiarini was basically at the end of his career of fraud and patient abuse, found out and unwanted by everyone, because of his psychopathic tendencies. Except by Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Sweden, which pushed the recruitment process through in just 3 weeks, despite negative references and known lies in Macchiarini’s CV.  Thanks to the emeritus KI professor and KI scandal chronist Johan Thyberg, I now share below some documents which Thyberg received from a confidential source, after KI told him those very documents were missing.

The central document is a report by the KI pulmonologist Sven-Erik Dahlen submitted to the Karolinska University Hospital investigator Kjell Asplund on 26 April 2016 (read here the Asplund report), as well as some of the attachments Thyberg obtained so far. KI were warned from colleagues in Florence, Barcelona and Hannover not to employ someone who was basically a lying psychopath. Yet the rector Harriet Wallberg and lead clinicians Lars-Olaf Cardell and Li Felländer-Tsai were desperate for some positive academic reviews to push the professorship through. They finally got one from London, from Macchiarini’s partner at UCL, Martin Birchall.

Totally kept under wraps so far: another London institution was apparently involved in Macchiarini’s recruitment at KI: the Great Ormond Street Hospital, a children’s clinic with big plans for trachea transplants. Swedes were quite worried to anger GOSH by rejecting Macchiarini and thus lose the collaborative opportunities. Just some months before the recruitment process started at KI, Macchiarini performed at GOSH in March 2010 a trachea transplant on a child (now one of just 2 or 3 survivors of what otherwise became basically a killing spree). That GOSH operation was another Lancet paper in the making (Elliott et al, Lancet, 2012), yet when it was finally published, Macchiarini ‘s friendship with London surgeons abruptly ended over a patent fight and the Italian was thrown off the paper. But back in 2010, a “boss at GOSH” is mentioned by Cardell as someone whom KI approached for a reference, this boss was likely the medical director Martin Elliott, who performed that trachea transplant together with Macchiarini.

Hannover to Barcelona

Macchiarini’s career in trachea transplanting started at the Medical School Hannover (MHH) in Germany, where he was involved in a human experiment using a bizarre pig intestine technology developed there (read here). The university hospital stopped working with their Italian surgeon in 2004, because his sociopathic tendencies were too much even for MHH. They did retain him as adjunct professor, for which MHH apparently still keeps listing him as lecturer (to satisfy the legal requirement) even though Macchiarini hasn’t set foot in Hannover for many years. In 2010, Professor Macchiarini supervised a number of MD doctorate students at MHH, including his right-hand man Philipp Jungebluth, who then had me sued, sentenced and fined in Berlin courts for speaking bad about their trachea transplant research (Macchiarini served as expert witness for the court verdict). Jungebluth’s doctoral examiner, the MHH pulmonology professor Tobias Welte however warned Macchiarini’s next employers (Hospital Clinic Barcelona and KI) of Macchiarini’s destructive personality, in 2004 and 2010, respectively. Welte also requested in 2017 an examination of Jungebluth’s and all other doctoral theses supervised by Macchiarini, but the MHH president forbade any investigations by his written verdict (here).

At the end of 2009, Macchiarini was also thrown out by his next employer, the Hospital Clinic Barcelona, his contract was not renewed. This despite his big success story from the year before, the Lancet publication Macchiarini et al 2008 on the first ever transplant of a regenerated decellurised trachea. The official reasons were again Macchiarini’s psychopathic behaviour, though Hospital Clinic knew the Lancet‘s claims were not true, because he omitted the collapse of the graft just 3 months after the operation and the heavy complications his patient experienced ever since. The clinic also must have known of Macchiarini’s bullying and coercion of patients and of at least another trachea transplant victim who died in their intensive care unit (read here).

As a source indicated, already by mid-2009 Macchiarini was forbidden to operate at the Hospital Clinic, this was why Macchiarini moved to experiment on humans outside of all law and ethics in the neighbouring Barcelona hospital of Instituto Dexeus, using decellurised tracheas he stole from the biobank at Hospital Clinic. Another patient met her death after receiving a trachea transplant (read here), there might have been more.

The artist as a young man, in or before 2008. Already then known for being a psychopath, before even he started transplanting tracheas in Barcelona. Photo: Marta Jordi

Back to Italy

At around that time, Macchiarini gained some heavy political support and negotiated himself a new job, at the Careggi University Hospital in Florence, Italy. As Sergio Romagnani, professor emeritus for internal medicine at the University of Florence recalled, Macchiarini was invited by Italian Ministry of Health and offered:

1) a big salary for a partial time work at the Careggi’ Hospital with the freedom of making surgery activity also in private hospitals and even outside of Italy;

2) the financial support for a personal laboratory on stem cells

3) the call as Full Professor in Thoracic Surgery at the University of Florence (in agreement with the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Gianfranco Gensini).

Macchiarini got the first two offers in full, supported by his admirer, the freshly appointed Governor of Tuscany, Enrico Rossi. It was the third point where a snag came. All Italian media rejoiced in gaining with Macchiarini such a star returning back to Italy, only one newspaper and its journalist remained critical: Corriere Fiorentino and Alessio Gaggioli, who later helped revealing the extent of death and suffering Macchiarini’s trachea transplants caused at Careggi, but also in Barcelona.

At least 5 people met their death by trachea transplant at Careggi between July 2010 and January 2011, and it is not clear if KI knew about them. Two were operated before the recruitment to KI took place: a mother of a newborn from Czech Republic, and a young woman from UK (her story here). Birchall and UCL decided that Macchiarini (at that time honorary professor at UCL) should give her a cadeveric trachea transplant, which happened at Careggi in July 2010. When Macchiarini’s rapid recruitment to KI happened less than 2 months later, the patient was still relatively well. That perceived success might have been another reason for Birchall, UCL and GOSH to push for Macchiarini’s recruitment as KI professor. The true horror started for that patient in December 2010, a second transplant with a plastic trachea in September 2011 at UCL hospital (without Macchiarini’s involvement) finished her off.

Italian academics knew what kind of person Macchiarini was, but he brought big money thanks to his political contacts, so Careggi let him play. Even now, in 2018, the Fiorentine hospital still can’t care less about their patients whom Macchiarini killed, while Rossi still laments the loss of such a great surgeon. One of their trachea transplanting doctors even served as expert witness against me in court. When the scandal exploded in 2016,  Romagnoni later explained in Corriere Fiorentino, why he and others did not grant Macchiarini the promised professorship back in 2009:

“Once the Faculty of Medicine was asked by its Dean to call Macchiarini as a Full Professor “by equivalence”, some Professors invoked in the Assembly the development of a Committee of experts, who should analyze his “curriculum vitae” (CV). I was named as a Member of the Committee because of my expertise in the stem cells field together with a general surgeon, a thoracic surgeon, a heart surgeon, a vessel surgeon, a pneumologist and a pharmacologist. The Committee after three-four sessions on December 2009, wrote a report which concluded that Macchiarini had never exerted the function of Full Professor in a foreign University, although some of the activities previously developed in Hannover, Paris and Barcelona had been indicated in the CV as equivalent to the function of Full Professor In Italy. This wrong information was very clear, even if the Committee had been impaired from the Dean of the Faculty to ask for further information to the foreign colleagues of these cities. Once received the report from the Committee, the Dean did not reveal its content in the Faculty’s Assembly, but maintained the document as confidential.”

Basically, Macchiarini lied about having had faculty assignments and full professorships abroad. Everywhere he worked before, he was professor and director, at least according to his CV (Macchiarini even presented his teaching appointment as medicine student in Pisa as a professorship). Even his adjunct professor title from MHH in Hannover was worthless in this regard. It needed a glam magazine Vanity Fair to eventually uncover all that, because the academic community, especially KI, rather decided that such obsessive-compulsive lies in a CV must be a sign of a creative and enterprising mind.

Friends in London

Macchiarini’s attempt to become professor at UCL in London also didn’t work out. His closest ally at that time, the laryngologist Martin Birchall tried in 2009 everything to secure Macchiarini a full professorship in London. Birchall himself became UCL professor in 2009, right after he and Macchiarini celebrated their Lancet paper Macchiarini et al 2008 and the alleged success story of world’s first trachea transplant. Macchiarini however was rejected at UCL:

“on the basis of the unsuccessful bid to the MRC for financial support for recruitment and the lack of strong support from UCL associated clinicians, the potential substantive appointment of Professor Macchiarini was not progressed though he did continue with his honorary Professorship at UCL”.

Dangerous psychopath with a fake CV, but a paper in Lancet. Difficult decision for KI. Barcelona, Florence and Hannover academic clinicians warned their Stockholm colleagues not to employ Macchiarini. KI ignored the warnings, and made him their star scientist, already eyeballing the Nobel Prize for medicine, which KI incidentally issues. Two KI stem cell researchers ( Urban Lendahl and Ernest Arenas) and a bunch of clinicians wrote a letter asking KI to recruit Macchiarini as professor for regenerative medicine (read here, also about the recruitment process).

To be fair, no institution ever denounced Macchiarini’s trachea transplant technology, ever, even now, just his person. In fact UCL was very keen on human research with plastic and cadaveric tracheas (they still are keen to do latter), and Birchall’s positive recommendation was decisive in helping KI recruit Macchiarini. Another letter of support was provided by the governor Rossi, desperate for the big Swedish money coming down to Tuscany, where Macchiarini would build an international airway surgery centre.

Now, the Dahlen report. Many thanks to Johan Thyberg and Elizabeth Woeckner of CIRCARE for preparing those documents.

September 2010. KI rector Harriet Wallberg making plans…. Photos: News Agency.

Sven-Erik Dahlen: Report and references at the time of recruitment of Paolo Macchiarini (PM) in 2010.

Originals here: page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Support and documentation

To support the summary below, attached (under separate tabs) are nine numbered
printed-out email chains which I refer to in the text. The message chains are copied and pasted as they come in Outlook, ie, reverse chronologically. Each reference must thus, for context, be read from bottom to top. I chose to do so as not to manipulate the documentation.

I also refer to oral contacts. Unfortunately, I have no documentation of these in my diary. During tidying-up a year ago, all old records were lost which could provide evidence that those meetings were in any case booked.

The beginnings: Why did I get caught up in this matter?

On August 3, 2010, my family was visiting relatives in the Pyrenees. Then Leo Fabbri calls on my mobile phone. Fabbri is a professor of lung medicine in Modena, world-leading COPD and asthma researcher and president of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) 2008. We know each other well. This partly because he is site leader in Modena for the EU project BIOAIR which I’m PI for, and partly because I as “Research Director” within ERS was at this time a member of the ERS board since 2007.

Fabbri is wondering if I know that Kl wants to recruit PM. I answer that I do not know anything about it and do not know who PM is. Fabbri reminds me that PM has been discussed within the board of ERS. He expressed in earnest tone serious criticism of PM’s research, clinical judgment, and general problems. He says in summary that he thinks I should advise my colleagues against the recruitment. I thank him for his advice and say I’ll call him again when I’m back at work towards the end of August.

Follow-up and referral 31 August to 6 September 2010

Contacts with Leo Fabbri [email chain nr. 1]

Once home, I send an email on August 31, and ask Fabbri for more detailed description. Our first phone conversation will take place next day, Wednesday, September 1st. Below is one 15 min long call starting at 8:30 AM where I learn much more about the problems in Florence, that the PM has been in both Hanover and Barcelona, ​​but in both places it ended with conflicts and inability to subordinate to decisions taken at therapy conferences or by superiors (the content is specified below in mail loop no 2). Fabbri advised me to take references from respective managers, Gianfraco Gensini in Florence, Tobias Welte in Hannover and Alvar Agusti in Barcelona. Welte and Agusti I felt good about because they also have or have had honorary positions with ERS. As I remember it, I had a brief follow-up conversation with Fabbri next week, where I asked some control questions.

First contact with Lars-Olaf Cardell [email chain nr. 2]

The same day I contact Fabbri (31/8) I send an email to Cardell and ask if he knows anything about the serious criticism that Fabbri made when I was in France (see email sent to Cardeli at 9:22 pm).

Quote here from this mail:

“Leo Fabbri told me that this person had been discontinued from clinical activities in Italy and Spain due to unethical behaviour, and lost licence in London. Have you heard something similar? If this is correct, I think we need to inform Harriet.” [Comment today: London was probably the wrong memory of mine. This email, sent before I talked to Fabbri, was based only on the mobile phone call]

Cardell answers in the evening (see the same email chain) that he does not think it sounds good, but that they have seen him operate and that he is a very good surgeon. He also mentions that PM is booked for Thursday September 8th with the Principal to write on a preliminary employment contract.

Intermediate Contact with Cardell [email chain nr. 3]

In the morning of September 1 at 6:39 pm I say to Cardell that we must of course take care to request proper references and not just word of mouth. He confirms it later this day.

Report to Cardell after conversation with Fabbri [see email chain nr. 2 again]

Immediately after my conversation with Fabbri in the morning of September 1 send a card report to Cardell (see mail from me at 9:03).

Quote from my record of the conversation with Fabbri:

“Macchiarini apparently has been in Italian media last month when he did not
succeed in getting the professorship of Florence, because he left incorrect
data in his resume and also the accuracy of data in some publications was questioned. See e.g. below from Wikipedia and my comments: Paolo Macchiarini, M. D.,
Ph.D. is head and chairman of the Hospital Clinic (Barcelona Metro) [see
mail exchange for link] (Barcelona Metro) de Barcelona, ​​University of Barcelona
in Barcelona, ​​Spain [Not according to Alvar Agusti, candidate for next ERS president. He was only temporarily employed and it ended when he misunderstood his mission], as a professor of surgery at the University of Barcelona Spain, and at the Hannover Medical School School in Hanover [see mail exchanges for link], Germany [Not according to Leo]. No one questions his skills as a surgeon, but as a researcher. The perception Leo has after talking to Dean in Florence is: Macchiarini lacks judgement, does not care about ethical approvals or creating teams of research students and, in general, he is a hypomaniac (at least).

Cardell responds directly at 9:30 and announces that he has already informed his Prefect Li Tsai, who leads the recruiting group. Cardell suggests that she contacts the Dean in Florence. Tsai is copied in this mail. I reply directly that I would like to meet them and tell them more about what Fabbri told me.

I receive  from Fabbri contact information of the Dean in Florence via email (see mail file number 1) and forward these to Cardell and Tsai, who I remember contacting him.

Contact Alvar Agusti in Barcelona [See email chain no. 4 that confirms the call was scheduled]

I talk during the day on September 2 on the phone with Agusti who is in England that day. He gives a long description of how the PMs period in Barcelona was developed. They initially believed to be able to benefit from PM’s outstanding surgical skills, despite having a copy of his relatively negative review which Tobias Welte wrote from Hannover a few years earlier. I got the impression that the ear specialist Manuel Bernal in Barcelona pushed this through in part against Agusti’s will, but he did not want to go into detail. Unfortunately, I find no memo notes, but my remaining impression was that it was significantly the implementation of clinical surgical research in the absence of ethical approvals that prompted PM to leave Barcelona. I asked Alvar towards the end of the conversation to send a written summary, but he did not want to send it as email but as a confidential “dossier” to the KI administration. It was apparently the way he was used to doing in Spain.

I gave oral information about my conversation with Agusti to Cardell on the evening of 2

Mail contacts Cardell and Tsai on September 2 [see email chain nr. 5]

Before I talked to Agusti, I got a copy of email from Cardell to Tsai where Richard Kuylenstierna communicates a positive reference from GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital), and where Tsai is looking forward to more letters of recommendation.

[Cardell wrote this to Felländer-Tsai on 2.09.2010, -LS]

“I have spoken again with Richard Kuylenstierna (who has previously been in contact with it Unit in London where Paolo is active) that GOS [GOSH, Great Ormond Street Hospital, -LS] is very pleased with a long relationship with Paolo. I also have approached the boss at GOS [likely GOSH medical director Martin Elliott, who transplanted a trachea with Macchiarini in March 2010, -LS]  with the request for a written letter of recommendation. Continue to get news from this evening from Barcelona via Sven-Erik Dahlen who has good contacts in town. If the experiences from there are also positive, maybe we can find some appropriate person there who could certify the same in writing”

Videoconference from 15.02.2012, where Macchiarini and his Russian, Italian and US colleagues discussed upcoming plastic trachea operations on 2 Russian patients, and a Swedish candidate. Present clinicians on Karolinska side, as seen on the screenshot: Macchiarini, Jungebluth (behind PM), Richard Kuylenstierna (next to PM). KI later denied this multidisciplinary conference ever took place as such.

Mail contacts Sunday, September 5, 2010

I search for Tobias Welte [email chain nr. 6] who offers to talk with me on Monday and says that he will also send later this week a copy of the critical review he wrote at the time when PM had to leave Hannover. Cardell announces that he meets with Tsai on Monday.

I get bcc on Sunday evening in an email from Cardell to Holmström (departing Operations Manager) and Kuylenstierna (Chief Executive Officer) [email chain nr. 7] citing Cardell’s Summary of Reference:

“Overall, we have a positive reference from London (Martin Anthony Birchall), one
negative from Florence (Leo Fabbri) and two negative from Barcelona (Alvar Agusti and Manuel Bernal). In addition to this we will get a copy of the critical letter that Tobias Welte in Hanover wrote to colleagues in Barcelona before his employment there (this, however, Barcelona chose to ignore when he was hired).

All reviewers agree that he is technically a dazzling surgeon. From Florence and Barcelona we are presented with consistent information that he has one distinctive personality that makes him difficult to accept both criticism and opinions regarding surgery that does not coincide with his own. His diagnostics decisions are generally considered too far-reaching and risky. Further from southern Europe came more sweeping, but consistent accusations about his reluctance in dealing with the truth, lack in collegiality, poor consideration for patients and relatives as well as lack of respect for rules (both actual and moral).

The accuracy of his long and impressive CV has been questioned from Florence and we
therefore requested on Thursday supplements in the form of a certificate of three key points of his performance. These have not yet been received.

About his research, we really do not know anything except what’s on the pubmed. Some references from co-authors / partners have not yet been taken. The rector was informed by Li on Friday that the referral process is still ongoing, but that the issue in the past week has become more complex. Li has also promised to inform her on Wednesday of everything we received.”

Monday, September 6, 2010 [see email chain nr. 8]

I receive an email with written summary from Welte in the morning at 11:15. When I then in the afternoon catch him on a train trip, he confirms and elaborates what he wrote this morning.
Quote here from Welte’s mail:

“I can give you my opinion which is very similar to what I sent to Barcelona years ago.
I have experience in collaboration with Paolo Macchiarini for about two years. He is a brilliant surgeon, very innovative. He is also a real academic researcher with good and relevant research proposals.
The key problem with PM is that it is very difficult to negotiate and cooperate with him. He is not a team player. Due to the fact that mainly for pneumo oncology the discussion between pneumologists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists and others is essential for the final decision, someone like PM who does not accept team decisions is hard to tolerate.
This was the major reason for us in Hannover not to continue with PM. When he left Hannover, everybody was against him, not due to his surgery capabilities, but due to his habits.
I hope this information helps.”

Immediately after my conversation, I announced to Tsai and Cardell that Welte is available for phone calls with them on Wednesday, September 8th. As is also evident from this email chain, Cardell answers that the ENT doctors believe that they can control PM and that they don’t want to damage the cooperation they have with GOSH.

It is repeated that the Rector will receive a presentation on the matter on Wednesday, 8 September.

[Cardell wrote this to Dahlen on 6.09.2010 about Macchiarini, -LS]:

“The new as well as the former operations manager in the ENT clinic still believe that it may be possible to hold control of this man, as they obviously did in London, but I have my doubts. They are also worried that the since long ongoing cooperation with London could get damaged if we turn PM down, now when London has chosen to back him wholeheartedly in spite of the information about what they say in Florence. To find out what Rector says when she gets all information on Wednesday will be very interesting. Independent of what Rector decides, I anyhow think it will best to invite the head from GOSH London before anything is settled about the clinic.”



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In the evening of this day, I have a fifteen-minute meeting at Nobelforum’s upper floor with Li Tsai. I summarize the references I received from Fabbri, Agusti and Welte. She thanks for the information but emphasizes that there are different perceptions of PM where GOSH provides a completely different picture than my contacts.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 [see email chain nr. 9]

I receive an email from Cardell about different things where item 1 concerns this matter. He announces that the rector received “all information” from Li Tsai.

[This was what Li Felländer-Tsai wrote to Rector Harriet Wallberg on 7 September 2010, -LS]:

“Hi Harriet,
Below is an update about Paolo Macchiarini.
As I mentioned earlier, he has always been open with the fact that there have been differences of opinion between him and the Faculty of Medicine in Florence. However, he has support from the clinic in Florence and has ongoing EU projects through the hospital.
About a week ago, an Italian journalist [likely Alessio Gaggioli from Corriere Fiorentino, -LS] contacted Kl and wanted answers to a detailed questionnaire. I then contacted Paolo and asked about his view on the matter. He meant that he had been subjected to a prosecution and academic controversy. An Italian professor also contacted Professor Sven-Erik Dahlen at Kl, last week, and gave his views on Paolo on his own behalf.
Because of the complexity of the matter, I have since intensified the reference taking through Mats Holmström (new operation manager in ENT clinic), Richard Kuylenstierna (former operation manager in ENT clinic) and Professor Lars-Olaf Cardell.
What comes out is a complex mixed picture.

Positive reviews about Paolo are available from University College London (Martin Anthony Birchall), who look forward to building a relationship with us in regenerative airway surgery around Paolo, who has been at UCL.
Negative reviews come from the University of Florence (Leo Fabbri) and Barcelona (Alvar Agusti and Manuel Bernal). From Tobias Welte in Hannover, a mixed picture is displayed of a brilliant surgeon and scientist with high academic competence and ability to pioneering new research projects, but with difficulties in teamwork.

In summary, all referrers agree that Paolo is technically a dazzling surgeon (which we also witnessed when he guest-operated here with adj professor Jan-Erik Juto). There is also evidence that he has an unusual personality that makes it difficult for him to accept adversities and opinions that do not coincide with his own, and difficulties in teamwork. It is difficult to evaluate the views as to whether his indications are too risky or in terms of his moral hazard.
It is rare for surgeons who do not hesitate to cut out sick airways out of people and replace them with decellularized cadaveric grafts seeded with stem cells and growth factors. But it is groundbreaking and gets into Lancet and may eventually lead to new treatment paradigms. I feel so well the phenomenon, have experience of similar persons and in our earlier activities, Sweden’s first renal and hepatic transplantation (under interesting forms …) was of great benefit to humanity and patients (although some died / die on the operating table). A special personality is required to eviscerate people in vivo. The boundary between success and failure, however, is hard and the success of course depends on a variety of conditions and also on other key people who can balance it all.
I’m going to meet Paolo on Thursday together with the new head of operations at the ENT clinic (who is fully informed) and professor Lars-Olaf Cardell. We will cover up last week’s events with Paolo as well.

Paolo will also lecture on Friday at Richard Kuylenstierna’s award ceremony for his work as operation manager. I will also continue the discussion with the clinic on how to proceed.
We had booked a meeting with you at 9 AM on Friday morning. Paolo has really looked forward to meeting you again after your meeting in Gothenburg. Do not know how you want to do with this meeting considering the information in this email. But if you want to wait with the meeting then we can always postpone it. The case is coming up in the Recruitment committee on September 22 so there is still time.”

Epilogue 1

Some days later, I hear that PM was hired at KI. I think I saw a press release about this. Italy’s biggest newspaper Corriere della Sera comments about the surprising appointment. Of course, I am also surprised that this decision was taken so fast under such remarkable conditions which emerged from references taken in just a few days. I had hoped to follow up in detail. I certainly did not have any personal involvement for or against this recruitment and also was not aware of it until Leo Fabbri contacted me. However, I felt a responsibility to bring this to KI as credible and respected international colleagues approached me. I became contacted because I happened to be the one they knew at Kl. Because I knew those people who contacted me very well, I found no reason to question their reports.

Epilogue 2

Macchiarini’s ability to engage the research community was demonstrated to me about a year later when I was invited to the start-up meeting for an ERC supported COST project (BM 1201) “The early origin of chronic lung disease. ” A series of Europe’s leading lung researchers were invited to develop a new research program. For the first time, I will see PM “live”. He was also invited and became co-author with me and twenty others on the subsequent “position paper” (Krauss-Etschmann s, Bush A, Bellusci S, Brusselle GG, Dahlen SE, Dehmel S, Eickelberg O, Gibson G, Hylkema MN, Knaus P, Königshoff M, Lloyd CM, Maedarini P, Mailleux A, Marsland BJ, Postrna DS, Roberts G, Samakovlis C, Stocks J, Vandesompele J, Wjst M, Holloway J. Of flies, mice and men: a systematic approach to understanding the early life of origin or chronic lung disease. Thorax. 2013. 68: 380-4.). Interesting he still did not specify KI as affiliation in this publication … The publication is attached tab 10. I have no other publications with PM.

Tuscan governor Enrico Rossi with “one of the most talented minds this region has ever had”. Photo: Corriere Fiorentino

On 12 September, ten days before Macchiarini was scheduled to be recruited, Felländer-Tsai, together with Cardell and Mats Holmström wrote to the governor of Tuscany, asking for a decisive positive reference for Macchiarini. In return, they were basically promising Enrico Rossi money for an airway surgery collaboration between KI and the Tuscan hospital Careggi. Rossi delivered on time, on 20.09.2010. Here is the Tuscan governor’s full letter to KI, and excerpt:

“In April 2010 I was elected President of the Region of Tuscany and in this capacity I Would like to affirm that our region is indeed interested in pursuing the goal of creating a European Center for Advanced Regenerative Airway Surgery based in Stockholm, London and Florence.

To this end I am ready to assume every necessary political and financial effort, as well as encouraging the support of the academic community. Unfortunately during the past weeks Prof. Macchiarini has been the subject of an  vile attack  by the  local media  in  Florence which has used him in an attempt at destabilising the political power structure within the Faculty of Medicine of  Florence. Prof. Macchiarini’s integrity and morality has never been questioned; nor has his professionalism and  achievements, his conduct has always been exemplary and we wish to intensify his collaboration with us.

Please accept my deepest  apologies for the misunderstandings, conflicts and  unpleasant situations that have occurred. I would once again like to confirm that Prof. Macchiarini is one of the most talented minds this  region has ever had and we will support him in achieving his goals through whatever means he chooses. This is also the desire of our citizens and patients. I certainly hope that this episode will not affect the recruitment of Prof. Macchiarini at the Karolinska Institut.”

The rest is history. A history of a carnage.






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6 comments on “How Macchiarini was recruited to Karolinska

  1. Karolinska Researcher

    Karolinska have tried to hide this and other material for many years and the reason is that there are more Paolo like characters currently working at the Karolinska. The problem has become to big to solve and everybody is trying to find a lifeboat to escape in.


  2. Pingback: Megagrant, the Russian docu-novel of Paolo Macchiarini – For Better Science

  3. Dear Leonid
    I want to congratulate you for the excellent collection of data and monitoring of the case of individuals as detestable as PM.
    I have been a psychiatrist for more than 10 years and from the moment I saw the first article on PM I was struck by wondering what would be the psychological diagnosis of a subject that incurs in so flagrant transgressions to the ethical codes and lies in a clearly megalomaniac and pathological way. The information I found on your page, especially the descriptions and comments of patients, were very useful for me. I still believe that the diagnosis of a severe narcissistic personality disorder is insufficient to explain the lack of empathy of this professional with his patients and the disastrous results of his work.
    Beyond what happens in the head of PM, what angers me the most is that the scientific community still allows subjects like this to continue not only working but in freedom when they should be brought to justice for homicide. PM is a modern Victor Frankenstein obsessed with fulfilling his egoic whims at any price. In the novel, Dr. Frankenstein finally receives the punishment via his own creation. In the case of PM, their “creations” will not be able to collect revenge since they paid with their lives the trust that they had to a sociopath with a medical title and to a medical system that ismore interested in results ,glory and publications of the scientific articles than in the safety and wellbeing of the patients.


  4. Pingback: Misconduct findings fell KI Vice-President Dahlman-Wright – For Better Science

  5. Pingback: Karolinska’s haunted leadership – For Better Science

  6. Pingback: Paolo Macchiarini indicted for aggravated assault in Sweden – For Better Science

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