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Italian surgeon gets conditional sentence in Sweden case

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STOCKHOLM — An Italian surgeon who made headlines in 2011 for carrying out the world’s first stem-cell windpipe transplants at Sweden’s leading hospital was given a conditional sentence Thursday for causing bodily harm to a patient. He was acquitted of two other charges.

Stem-cell scientist Dr. Paolo Macchiarini was once considered a leading figure in regenerative medicine and is credited with creating the world’s first windpipe partially made from a patient’s own stem cells.

He was alleged to have operated inappropriately on three people between 2011 and 2014. He denied any criminal wrongdoing.

All three patients later died, but Maccharini was not accused of killing them.

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Macchiarini risked five years in prison if the Solna District Court had followed the prosecutor’s request.

“We have judged that these interventions have not taken place in accordance with science and proven experience. On the other hand, we believe that two of the interventions have nevertheless been regarded as justifiable, but not the third,” judge Björn Skaensberg said, cited by the Swedish public broadcaster SVT.

In December 2018, Sweden decided to reopen a previously discontinued investigation into the three cases. Additional written evidence was obtained, and more interviews were held with individuals in Sweden, Belgium, Britain, the United States and Spain.

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Macchiarini was fired from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute in March 2016 for breaching medical ethics after being accused of falsifying his resume and misrepresenting his work.

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