How a Brooklyn TV producer fell in love with disgraced surgeon Paolo Macchiarini who left behind a trail of deception and death

An upcoming documentary will reveal how a TV producer fell in love with a disgraced surgeon who left a trail of deceit and death in his wake.

Benita Alexander, from Brooklyn, first met Swiss-Italian surgeon Paolo Macchiarini in February 2013, while filming a TV special about his work for NBC called A Leap Of Faith.

It is said that he deceived her with claims from famous friends and the promise that the Pope himself would officiate their wedding.

But she later found out that he was already married before even more extreme accusations were made against him.

Here, FEMAIL has laid bare the sordid details of their partnership as Netflix is ​​set to release docuseries Bad Surgeon: Love Under The Knife.

Benita Alexander, from Brooklyn, first met Swiss-Italian surgeon Paolo Macchiarini in February 2013, while working on a TV special about his work for NBC called A Leap Of Faith.

The trailer for the upcoming series opens with Benita, now 57, admitting that she was “engaged to a monster.”

Macchiarini, now 65, was described elsewhere as “the biggest con artist in medical history,” while his former flame wondered: “Was this man a superhero, a super surgeon and the love of my life?”

“Or was he a dangerous con man and a murderer?”

Macchiarini achieved something of a celebrity status after becoming known for his innovative surgeries that earned him the nickname “Miracle Man.”

His greatest achievement was performing the world’s first synthetic organ transplant, in which he fashioned a trachea out of plastic and then covered it with the patient’s own stem cells.

The implication was that the patient’s trachea would ‘grow back’, heralding a breakthrough in regenerative medicine.

As a result, he was given a prestigious position at the world-famous Karolinska Institute in Sweden – and it was around this time that he met Benita for an interview.

Benita, who had a nine-year-old daughter and was married to her second husband at the time, ended up having dinner with Macchiarini during the filming of the TV special about his work.

The trailer for the upcoming series opens with Benita, now 57, admitting she was 'engaged to a monster'

The trailer for the upcoming series opens with Benita, now 57, admitting she was ‘engaged to a monster’

Benita claimed the couple went on holiday to the Bahamas, Turkey, Mexico, Greece, Italy and beyond, as well as shopping in expensive stores and dining in Michelin-starred restaurants.

Benita claimed the couple went on holiday to the Bahamas, Turkey, Mexico, Greece, Italy and beyond, as well as shopping in expensive stores and dining in Michelin-starred restaurants.

And it didn’t take long for their relationship to blossom.

Benita claimed the couple went on holiday to the Bahamas, Turkey, Mexico, Greece, Italy and beyond, as well as shopping in expensive stores and dining in Michelin-starred restaurants.

She said the surgeon, who boasted powerful friends like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, proposed to her on Christmas Day with a “$100,000” diamond ring.

And Macchiarini even told her that he could get Pope Francis to consummate their wedding.

The couple set the date for July 2015 in Rome, when Benita claimed her then-husband told her he had invited the likes of Elton John, John Legend and Vladimir Putin to celebrate the ceremony with them.

However, she admitted that she began to have doubts when she heard that the Pope would actually be touring South America when she was about to get married – and that it was therefore highly unlikely that she would be able to attend the wedding, let alone. initiate.

Becoming increasingly suspicious, Benita decided to hire a private investigator to help her get to the bottom of her partner’s claims.

She said the surgeon, who boasted powerful friends like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, proposed to her on Christmas Day with a

She said the surgeon, who boasted powerful friends like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, proposed to her on Christmas Day with a “$100,000” diamond ring.

Macchiarini had misrepresented the data and exaggerated the effectiveness of his technique and was found guilty of research fraud

Macchiarini had misrepresented the data and exaggerated the effectiveness of his technique and was found guilty of research fraud

It was then that she discovered that Macchiarini was actually a man of more modest means than he had let on, still married to his wife for thirty years and living in Barcelona “with a second wife and two young children.”

Benita told me earlier Vanity fair: ‘I just didn’t want to put two and two together. I didn’t want Paolo not to be the man I thought he was.

β€œThis wasn’t someone I picked up in a bar. This was a renowned, experienced surgeon who we had followed all over the world.

β€œJust the prospect of him making this all up, even as I described it to friends, is surreal.”

But it wasn’t just Macchiarini’s personal life that began to unravel – as it turned out his medical ‘breakthrough’ was anything but.

In 2014, doctors at the Karolinska Institute accused him of scientific misconduct, when tragically it turned out that all but one patient who received these ’tissue engineered’ airways had died.

Benita recently reflected on the relationship after throwing her engagement ring into the Hudson River when she had it appraised and discovered it actually only cost $1,000.

Benita recently reflected on the relationship after throwing her engagement ring into the Hudson River when she had it appraised and discovered it actually only cost $1,000.

She told the New York Post: 'It's embarrassing, but I was taken care of by Paolo.  Like his patients – many of whom ultimately died – I was seduced by a false promise.”

She told the New York Post: ‘It’s embarrassing, but I was taken care of by Paolo. Like his patients – many of whom eventually died – I was seduced by a false promise.”

Macchiarini had misrepresented the data and exaggerated the effectiveness of his technique and was found guilty of research fraud.

After being described in the series as ‘an absolute fraud’ who ‘treated people like human laboratory rats’, he was given a sixteen-month prison sentence in Italy, where he had operated on some patients.

The disgraced surgeon was later found guilty by a Swedish court of causing bodily harm while performing the experimental procedure on a patient, and was given a two-year suspended sentence.

Benita recently reflected on the relationship after throwing her engagement ring into the Hudson River when she had it appraised and discovered it actually only cost $1,000.

She told me New York Post: ‘It’s embarrassing, but I was taken care of by Paolo. Like his patients – many of whom eventually died – I was seduced by a false promise.”