The misconduct case of Paolo Macchiarini, a surgeon and researcher who fooled the biomedical community about the failure of his pioneering work on trachea implants, had a bizarre and tragic side story. The discredited surgeon, formerly of the Karolinska Institute (KI) in Stockholm, also spun an elaborate web of lies for Benita Alexander, a former NBC investigative producer who fell in love with him while on an assignment to cover his work. In an ironic take on Valentine’s Day, a new documentary on their doomed whirlwind romance is airing tonight in the United States.
Among the falsehoods Macchiarini told Alexander, who at the time worked for NBC in New York City, are claims that he belonged to a secret cadre of doctors who treat heads of state and other VIPs, and that he and Alexander would marry at a Rome ceremony in July 2015 officiated by Pope Francis and with the Obamas, the Clintons, the Putins, and Elton John in attendance.
None of it was true, as Alexander found out 2 months before the supposed wedding, a revelation documented 2 years ago in a riveting Vanity Fair article by another journalist. Now, Alexander retells the story herself in an 85-minute documentary, He Lied About Everything, that will premiere at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the Investigation Discovery television channel.