“Nip Tuck” by Ryan Murphy was a pioneer in showing the B side of cosmetic surgeries and inaugurated a television subgenre that multiplied programs linked to medicine, laboratories and malpractice. “Nip Tuck” revolved around some lovable but somewhat unscrupulous and morbid surgeons, however the macabre captured the attention of the audiences and the docuseries became more extreme and sinister although based on a reality that surpasses fiction.
From “Dr. Death” to “The Angel of Death”, “Dopesick”, “The Nurse”, “Take Care of Maya” and the best of all, “Lethal Medicine”, about oxycodine, the latest premiere of a docuseries in this line is “The great surgeon of deception” (“Bad Surgeon”).
The new Netflix production has three episodes that detail the different investigations that exposed the fraud of Paolo Macchiarini, an Italian surgeon who became revered as a pioneer in stem cell medicine who worked at the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Sweden, one of The most expensive in the world. He is famous for his revolutionary trachea transplants using stem cells, only his patients did not survive.
In 2011 he was recognized as the “miraculous” doctor after the world’s first stem cell transplant. His advances represented a first step towards the creation of organs in the laboratory, with the hope of long life and elusive death. But Macchiarini hid the fact that the procedure did not work and he continued to cling to his advances, calling them successful. His patients died after much suffering, one of them went through 191 operations to keep her alive and colleagues accused him of manipulating his studies.
Through a journalistic investigation, it was discovered that he had never experimented with animals, as scientific protocol dictates, but instead he threw himself headlong into humans, placing his patients as guinea pigs without sufficient studies to ensure the effectiveness of his supposed discovery.
Through interviews with the victims’ relatives, his ex-girlfriend, journalists who investigated the case and colleagues who exposed the fraud, this series follows the life of the doctor who is serving a sentence of just two years and six months for having operated “with criminal intent.” His ex-girlfriend, journalist Benita Alexander, told the truth about her whenever she could.
She met Paolo when she was preparing a report on her medical advances for an NBC program and they began a secret romance that they would only communicate to their loved ones when the report aired. Between life and luxury trips, they planned a wedding that Pope Francis was going to officiate since the doctor was part of an entourage of doctors who treated celebrities, leaders and powerful people, therefore he had “contacts” with the Vatican.
The series “Dr. Death,” available on Amazon, follows the story of Christopher Duntsch, a neurosurgeon who treated patients who came to him with chronic pain but ended up suffering more in his operating room. Furthermore, he exposes the bureaucratic darkness of the American healthcare system by portraying how hospitals allowed him to continue operating while he left a trail of victims.
There are several docuseries about the pharmaceutical desire to exploit medicinal needs as a business through the opioid crisis. The manipulations of Purdue Pharma are portrayed in “Dopesick” (Star +), “Lethal Medicine” (“Netflix), “The crime of the century” (Amazon), “The pharmacist” (Netflix) and “The business of pain” (Netflix). They all reconstruct the secret hidden behind the fentanyl crisis where patients became laboratory rats, prioritizing their urgency to alleviate pain in exchange for incalculable profits from OxyContin addiction.
“Take Care of Maya” (Netflix) is about the American girl who was separated from her mother when she was suffering pain, after the hospital accused her mother of negligence and of inventing the disease, instead of attending to previous diagnoses and studies. . “The Angel of Death” (Netflix) is about the nurse who murdered dozens of patients by injecting them with overdoses without the hospitals acting in time. “The Nurse” (Netflix) shows an almost identical story but in Denmark.
I am an author and journalist who has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. I currently work as a news editor at a major news website, and my focus is on covering the latest trends in entertainment. I also write occasional pieces for other outlets, and have authored two books about the entertainment industry.