Swedish Institution Known for Selecting Nobel Prize in Medicine Reels From Scandal

September 7, 2016

Two former leaders of Sweden’s prestigious Karolinska Institute were asked to resign as judges from the panel that awards the Nobel Prize for Medicine as a result of a scandal surrounding a disgraced transplant surgeon fired by the university earlier this year, the BBC reported. The entire board of the Karolinska Institute has also been fired.

A report based on an external investigation released on Monday criticizes the medical university for “inappropriately” pushing through the hiring of the surgeon, Paolo Macchiarini, as a visiting professor, in 2010, and essentially ignoring “remarkably negative references including information that Macchiarini had been blocked from a professorship in Italy, that there were doubts surrounding his research and that his CV contained falsehoods.”

The investigative report also faults the university for extending Macchiarini’s contract in 2013 and 2015 without any “real evaluation and assessment” of his work, and identifies problems in its handling of various scientific misconduct allegations involving Macchiarini.

A separate investigative report released last week describes problems with synthetic tracheal implants performed by Macchiarini on three Karolinska University Hospital patients, two of whom later died.

In June Swedish prosecutors announced they were investigating Macchiarini for involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deaths of two patients, the Associated Press reported. Macchiarini has denied all charges against him.

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