Nobel official resigns in wake of storm over Italian surgeon

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 12 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i837
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The secretary general of the Nobel Assembly, Urban Lendahl, has resigned from his position because he could be involved in a new investigation1 into Paolo Macchiarini, a prominent surgeon whose recruitment by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, he had supported.

The Nobel Assembly had nothing to do with Macchiarini’s appointment, but Lendahl stood down “out of respect for the integrity of the Nobel Prize work,” said a statement to the press.2

Macchiarini, born in Switzerland to Italian parents, has operated in many European countries during a high profile career and became a visiting professor at Karolinska in 2010. There he carried out several tracheal transplants using a synthetic windpipe made of a polymer material, the first such operations ever conducted. His claims of success were contested, and a previous investigation found evidence of scientific misconduct in seven papers.

Bengt Gerdin, of Uppsala University, who carried out the investigation, found that Macchiarini had claimed positive outcomes that did not match the medical records of three patients who had undergone the procedure. He said that Macchiarini had “dressed …

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