Case demonstrating that current scientific culture can lead to damage for humans

Macchiarini, a world famous charismatic surgeon worked at the Karolinska Institute at Stockholm. He received fame because of implanting artificial tracheas in human patients. Unfortunately, of the 9 patients, 7 deceased. See BBC documentary “Paolo Macchiarini: A surgeon’s downfall” (BBC, 2016). All patients underwent severe suffering. Animal studies intended to support the new treatments in humans had been published in the highly regarded journal Nature Communications. The Karolinska Institute and Hospital at the time  used this as an example to demonstrate the good cooperation between science and improving health care in the hospital. Because of the turbulence that was caused due to the patient problems, at first an internal committee was formed that stated nothing had gone wrong in the procedures used. After a documentary on Swedish television, external independent committees were formed that did conclude that many things had gone wrong. For example, no references had been asked when appointing the surgeon Macchiarini, if they had, they would have been warned by previous employers in Italy. A detailed analysis of the animal studies demonstrated that many things surrounding the science and animal welfare were not in order, and on the basis of these conclusions the Nature Communications paper was retracted in 2017 (Sjoqvist et al., 2014, 2017).