Who is Paolo Macchiarini? Surgeon convicted for fatal Swedish transplants

A controversial Italian surgeon was handed a suspended sentence for inflicting physical damage during an experimental stem-cell windpipe transplant by a Swedish court.


Paolo Macchiarini, a pioneering transplant surgeon, was acquitted of two assault allegations.

Three patients in Sweden died as a result of their treatment.

Prosecutors suggested that Macchiarini be sentenced to five years in prison, but the district court determined that he did not intend to injure the patients.

He has always refuted the allegations.


In 2011, Macchiarini received worldwide acclaim for performing the world’s first synthetic organ transplant at the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden. Patients would no longer need to wait for donors because of his work with plastic tracheas and stem cells.

Despite negative recommendations from his former jobs, he had been recruited a year before from Italy.

Andemariam Beyene, an Eritrean PhD student who had the first transplant in 2011, died after a series of illnesses two and a half years later.

His artificial trachea was discovered to be loose. He told the BBC shortly after the procedure: “I was terrified, terrified of the operation. But it was a life or death situation.”