Dr. Death season 2 ending explained: Is Paolo Macchiarini still practicing medicine?

(Photo by: Barbara Nitke/PEACOCK)
(Photo by: Barbara Nitke/PEACOCK) /

While the story and consequences of Christopher Duntsch from Dr. Death season 1 were a bit more straightforward and it felt like there was justice by the end, unfortunately the same can't be said about Italian thoracic surgeon Paolo Macchiarini. As we reach the very last moments of Dr. Death season 2, is the doctor still practicing medicine?

Season 2 ending explained

The answer seems to be, yes. The last episode, "Surgeons, Bachelors, and Butchers," indicates the charismatic doctor is still performing what he calls his "groundbreaking" surgeries. In the second season's bloody final moments, we see Paolo cleaning his hands of blood after surgery. And the text next to him reads "Patient #8, Biosynthetic Trachea."

It doesn't give a year or location, but this does indicate that he continued to practice medicine. That's because the last patient we "saw" was in 2014 in Russia, right before his hearing with the Swedish authorities. They admitted there was malpractice involved, but did not convict him since there wasn't enough evidence.

Dr. Death - Season 2
Courtesy: Peacock /

While Christopher got life imprisonment, Dr. Death season 2 showed that Paolo got away with what's known to be using humans and patients as his guinea pigs. We saw throughout the season how he used artificial tracheas soaked in the patient's stem cells to be able to replace the real organ. Though in the series, we see how all of his patients die and this doesn't work. Despite that, the closing moments reveal he's still in surgery rooms.

As many of you know, the figures depicted in the Dr. Death series are based on real people. So where is the real-life Paolo Macchiarini today? Is he still practicing medicine? We've got the answers for you below.

Courtesy: Netflix /

Is the real-life Paolo Macchiarini still practicing medicine?

It's a bit unclear whether the real Paolo Macchiarini, now 65 years old, is still performing his surgeries. However it's believed by multiple news outlets that he's not practicing medicine anymore at this time. According to PEOPLE, 11 of his research papers have been retracted as well. Though that doesn't mean there's been justice since he was exposed a few years ago.

The doctor is known for being a research fraud and liar. The real-life Benita Alexander said he claimed that he treated a bunch of well-known figures like Pope Francis, and even Bill and Hillary Clinton. This was not true though and was known to exaggerate on his résumé.

According to PEOPLE, he worked at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute and many of his patients started dying after having the artificial trachea implanted, also undergoing many complications. The Guardian shares he never went through safety reviews, animal tests, or trials first. It's crazy to think about how he got away with all of this with no one stopping him earlier or from the very start. The news outlet shares that as portrayed in the Peacock series, he and his team didn't seek approval from Stockholm's ethical review board either.

Courtesy: Netflix /

He's faced court on more than one occasion, and has gotten away with serving a prison sentence multiple times. PEOPLE shares that the Karolinska University Hospital ended his contract in 2013, but he "reportedly remained affiliated with the Karolinska Institute until 2016." Now whether this means he was doing research or actually operating is not clear. According to Cosmopolitan, in 2016 he was found "guilty of gross assault of three patients" by the Swedish court, but not manslaughter or murder. He did not serve any jail time.

Fast forward to 2019, he was initially sentenced to 16 months in prison by an Italian court for forging documents in his scientific work, but the Supreme Court overturned it. In June 2022, he was cleared from two of the three aggravated assault charges. But finally in June 2023, the Swedish court determined he needs to serve 2.5 years behind bars. Though Macchiarini appealed this decision, and still says that he's innocent. He's expected to start his sentence "sometime in the coming weeks."

Dr. Death season 2 is now streaming on Peacock.

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