"As mad as it gets me what he did [to me personally and] my daughter, the idea that this really is a guy who gets people's lives in his hands. This is a physician. ... Individuals could be dying for the guy, and so, I could not stay quiet, I could not crawl beneath the covers.
She soon discovered as she dwelt an obvious fairy tale love -- with somebody who not only appeared to look after her daughter but also lavished her with expensive gifts and trips -- many others were searching for the facts about Macchiarini.
The process employs the frame of a plastic tube lined with all the patient's stem cells and also is meant to assist them replicate into a wholesome version of the failing organ.
He traveled to Illinois to run to a Korean toddler that had been born with no trachea and that was likely to be the youngest man to receive an artificial one.
Some believed he would win a Nobel Prize one day, based on writer Stuart Ritchie. Both have coated Macchiarini within their job.
Alexander said she thought she would be a part of Macchiarini's own life, especially because he had been a topic in her work. However, on the day she met hima day before she was supposed to start filming himsomething occurred that gave her pause.
"It was the strangest thing," Alexander explained. "He comes round the corner, that looks at me and at that instant something occurred. I meanI got this kind of chill through my body, such as there was a type of electrical spark, and that I recall, in my mind, thinking,'What the hell was that?'"
As a journalist, Alexander understood she could not get involved with the topic of her narrative.
He had been dying and Macchiarini became somebody Alexander could lean .
"Paolo was a excellent listener," Alexander explained. Macchiarini had informed me that he and his wife were separated, but the divorce had not been countered legally. "He and I started visiting dinners and that I was sort of pouring out my heart to him about all of this stuff. He gave me quite sage, strong, type advice."
When her ex-husband expired, Macchiarini assisted Alexander cope. On the back of his bike, he drove along the Illinois River till they found a location where she would memorialize her ex-husband.
Alexander explained that afternoon marked the start of their connection. Shortly later he took her on an"on the top" romantic visit to Italy, where they ate extravagant dishes, went shopping and island cried on a personal vessel, she explained.
Collectively, they would spend weekends traveling to various countries, such as Mexico, Russia and Greece.
"Her life moved from quite down to earth to this sort of glamorous, nearly celebrity life... I was like,'What's happening to Benita,'" Alexander's buddy, Marian Fontana, stated.
"That is when he explained there was this sort of covert network [of physicians ] who are on call, essentially, for all these individuals.'"
One of the high-profile customers who Macchiarini maintained were on this particular network were the Clintons, both the Obamas as well as Pope Francis.
But despite his apparently hectic schedule, Alexander stated Macchiarini provided to plan their marriage. They'd decided to wed in Italy, in which Macchiarini desired a Catholic marriage rules against remarriages. Macchiarini told Alexander he was having trouble locating a Catholic priest who'd wed two divorcees, however, he advised her not to worry, so he'd speak with his contact at the Vatican.
Alexander stated Macchiarini afterwards called her, telling her that he had been in the Vatican and he had some good news: Not only did he find somebody eager to carry out the service but he stated it had been his very own individual, the pope himself.
Alexander did not initially believe him, but she stated Macchiarini told me that the pope needed to push ahead his innovative agenda for the church. After doing her own study, Alexander discovered that Pope Francis had only married 20 couples and started to think it was possible after all.
"From this moment on, it felt as though my mind was turning," Alexander explained,"and it did not stop turning."
She stated Macchiarini had informed her that because of his marriage, the Vatican had provided them the pope's summer house at the Italian city of Castel Gandolfo. He informed her opera singer Andrea Bocelli will be singing at the church throughout his wedding and John Legend will be enjoying the piano in their ceremony. With the parties set to continue four times, Alexander had her apparel designer create four unique dresses.
But while the wedding preparation lasted, Alexander's fiancé became embroiled in work-related troubles. She stated in November 2014they had planned a visit to California to spend Thanksgiving with her loved ones,"and he'd been very stressed in the weeks ahead, and he was speaking to me for a while on the way there were individuals which were against himand his'enemies.'"
The Korean woman that had experienced Macchiarini's process in Illinois, whose narrative Alexander was sent to pay, had expired in the time after the operation. Alexander, who said she would become near the woman's household, was"devastated," and Macchiarini had been"miserable" about it, because they had become attached to her.
Prior to their marriage, the couple visited Italy, where Alexander requested Macchiarini to reveal where their wedding parties would occur. However, she stated he had been at a"foul mood" that the whole time they had been there as he coped with the ongoing fallout in the allegations.
Paolo Macchiarini is vulnerable
Fact struck Alexander's dream romance eight months before she was likely to wed Macchiarini at 2015, when she received an email from a colleague using the subject line stating,"The Pope."
Her colleague had sent a post that stated the pope wouldn't be in Rome, as well as Italy, on the day of the wedding. It said he would be in South America and the"trip was planned for quite a while," Alexander explained.
After she phoned Macchiarini, angry about what she would read, she started to wonder what else he may have lied about. She stated she phoned the castle where all of the guests were assumed to be remaining and asked them concerning the reservation, they did not have.
Meanwhile, the research to Macchiarini's professional life was awakened -- the Karolinska Institute was exploring if he had fabricated aspects of the health care research.
Alexander felt forced to cancel the marriage yet while she attempted to work out the level to which Macchiarini had whined, she stated she allowed him believe they would marry 1 day.
"I left a very strategic choice to begin playing with a cat-and-mouse match, essentially," she explained. "I wished to get all of the info which I could... earlier I actually confronted him."
She managed to find the Vatican to confirm that he hadn't ever become the pope's personal physician. A contact she'd into the Clintons told her they had never heard of Macchiarini. There was no proof the Obamas had learned of him.
In addition, the Italian investigator discovered records showing that despite arranging a wedding Alexander for such a long time, Macchiarini was officially married.
From the time Alexander found these items about Macchiarini, she explained she had spent $50,000 on wedding preparations and quit her job.
After some days there, she traveled into Macchiarini's house in Barcelona, Spain, with a few friends who came together for support.
Macchiarini had told Alexander he had been on a work trip in Russia, however if Alexander pulled up close to his house, she said he had been standing on the steps with his puppy.
"I was mad as hell. ... I see that a girl and two children," she stated, adding that she understood about Paolo's spouse in Italy. "The girl in Barcelona wasn't his spouse."
Alexander, that waited at the vehicle, stated that the last time she watched Macchiarini, he'd turned about and walked up the staircase. She said she afterwards sent a protracted text message , and obtained a single-word answer:"Wow!"
Heartbroken, Alexander continued to find out more of Macchiarini's lies at the coming months. She reflected on their connection and wondered how she could have missed all of the red flags. She explained one query was heavy in her head:"Why do you do so to me, why do you do this to anyone?"
"I could not fall apart because I'm a single mum with a girl who wants me. I could not fall apart because when he is lying like this, there is no way he is not lying in his professional and medical life."
The accusations from Paolo Macchiarini
Macchiarini was being inspected for his job, including by physicians who'd been attempting to save the life span of one of his patients, Yesim Cetir.
Cetir came into Macchiarini's care after undergoing an optional procedure to fix a condition that resulted in excessive perspiration.
"The surgeons in Turkey attempted to fix it and there have been several complications," stated Rosemary Pinto, a personal injury attorney later hired by Cetir's family. "She had been having issues with diseases so, at the point, she came into contact Dr. Macchiarini."
From the time he conducted the artificial trachea transplant on Cetir, he'd performed the exact same process on four different patients.
Following Cetir's operation, doctors say she needed to undergo an extra 191 surgeries for different complications.
"She'd endured two strokes; she'd lost a lot of her eyesight, so she had been partly blind; she could not walk," Pinto said.
"We needed to clear her throat essentially every four to six months sort of 24 hoursseven days per week," said Oscar Simonson, a cardiothoracic surgeon who worked in the Karolinska Institute and its affiliated hospital in the moment.
Mathias Corbascio, yet another cardiothoracic surgeon who worked in the Karolinska Institute in the moment, stated the intensive care unit physician responsible for her maintenance started consulting with him about the literature composed by Macchiarini about tracheal replacements.
The team grew into four physicians, who contrasted the research reports Macchiarini had printed about his process -- all of that reported comparatively positive outcomes -- to the true medical records of these patients.
"When I began reading especially the newspapers that Paolo himself had composed, then we might very quickly arrive at the decision that what had been written in the newspapers wasn't exactly what was going on... in fact," Corbascio explained.
While trying to look after Cetir, Corbascio stated his group discovered that Macchiarini had exaggerated the potency of his operations and faked data to produce the surgeries look more effective than they had been.
Macchiarini had reported after his very first patient underwent the process, a wholesome trachea was starting to grow, Lindquist said. However, the biopsies revealed the cells were dead and there was really fungi growing on the plastic,'' he explained.
"It stated he needed a regular functioning airline," Corbascio explained. "This was not correct. ... They stated that the individual was doing good and that is accurate: One of the lungs had been totally obliterated from a chronic disease."
The physicians also raised the problem which Macchiarini had reported to a patient in a manner that indicated the patient was still living, though they had expired before the newspaper was printed.
"The very first thing we did was inform our supervisor, then we informed Paolo Macchiarini's directors in the college," Corbascio explained.
At a 500-page complaint registered in 2014 that detailed their allegations, the physicians accused Macchiarini of encouraging a health process that showed few signs of succeeding when endangering the lives of their patients.
Gerdin also stated Macchiarini had neglected to acquire ethical licenses to execute the transplant,'' which he said amounted to experimentation on human subjects.
In reaction to Gerdin's report, Macchiarini refused every one of the findings.
Three months afterwards, the Karolinska Institute dominated that although Macchiarini didn't necessarily rise to the level of its own standards, he hadn't committed scientific misconduct. Corbascio called the choice"absolutely crazy"
Meanwhile, the doctors were trying to conserve Cetir's life. She had been at the intensive care unit at Turkey for 3 decades, and her health was deteriorating. Needing a lung transplant, physicians arranged to move to Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.
Since these events were unfolding, Maccharini let Lindquist to accompany for a documentary movie. Lindquist had started his own investigation into the claims caused by Macchiarini's coworkers.
All this was occurring around precisely the exact same time that Alexander was planning to discuss her own story publicly for the first time at a Vanity Fair post .
The post's writer, journalist Adam Ciralsky, had uncovered fabrications at Macchiarini's professional life, and he recorded a variety of cases of Macchiarini misrepresenting his medical practice and history.
"I spoke with my editors and we began thinking,'Well, let us just keep pulling this thread. ... I didn't feel that by yanking that thread, we'd totally reverse the sweater."
Lindquist's three-part documentary show"The teaser" started broadcasting only over a week following the damning Vanity Fair article was printed in early January 2016.
"The Experiments" told the tales of a number of Maccharini's sufferers, such as young mum Julia Tuulik, who ruined her trachea in a car collision. Though her loved ones said the injury was not serious enough to demand a tracheal transplant, she underwent the process and proceeded to undergo tremendous pain. Finally, she expired.
Macchiarini asserts the artificial trachea did not shorten Tuulik's life or the lives of some of the other patients, or lead to their deaths. Rather, he states their inherent health conditions were deadly and might have been a element in their deaths.
Lindquist explained the documentary sparked outrage in Sweden, and months afterwards, fresh investigations into Macchiarini started.
The Karolinska Institute, that had revived Macchiarini's contract at November 2015, established another investigation into Macchiarini and reversed its prior decisions -- Macchiarini was really guilty of scientific misconduct, the Institute determined. His six newspapers on the transplant operation were retracted.
The college cited a number of those whistleblowers, reprimanding them for their involvement in a number of Macchiarini's newspapers.
It's resulted in extensive reform work at KI so as to enhance and clarify numerous regulations and patterns "
In addition, he led ABC News into a record of reforms that the Institute was applying at the aftermath of this scandal.
Of those eight patients given artificial tracheas from Macchiarini, just one remains alive now. He has also had his artificial trachea eliminated.
Cetir expired awaiting the lung transplant she desperately wanted.
Macchiarini hasn't yet entered a request, but has denied all the charges. Hearings are expected to start in 2022.
Macchiarini didn't respond to a request for comment in ABC News. He has never talked openly about his relationship with Alexander.
"I need him to go to trial... I need him to look around that court and watch the families of those patients whose lives he ruined, and watch my face and also at last be compelled for whatever couple of moments... to look us in the eye and perhaps know what he did," Alexander explained. "And I need him to be held liable.