Dr. Death (2021) s02e01 Episode Script

Like Magic

Crowds have gathered
today to hear the verdict
of the Swedish police investigation
into celebrity surgeon
Paolo Macchiarini,
who has been accused
of medical misconduct.
Officials are hoping for an indictment
to be issued today in the case
that has taken the global
medical community by storm.

Do you trust me?


- Oh!
- Oh, my goodness!

Hello, Keziah.

The recellularization
is complete, Doctor.

Now I need you to count back from 100.

She was the one, she was the one ♪
She was the one. she was the one ♪
She was the one, she was the one ♪

I'm not here to talk about politics.
- Benita?
- Yeah?
Have you seen our girl?
Shoot! Mm.
- Happy birthday!
- Happy birthday!
- Oh. You're ringing.

Always making such a racket, B.
Says the guy dragging me
to the hospital at 1:00 a.m.
What happened?
Ask him.
- Is he okay?
- Yes.
- Uh, is this your wife?
- BOTH: Ex.
Okay, well, John was admitted
after he was found
unconscious in his apartment.
I've left word for your oncologist,
but this is likely
caused by the brain tumor.
So does that mean the
treatment is not working?
It doesn't mean anything for sure.
But your doctor has
discussed your prognosis?
Yeah, we know. My chances are slim.
6%. 6%.
That's the number they love
to throw around all the time,
but someone's got to be the 6%, right?
Right. [SIGHS]
Well, I'll go check your bloodwork.
- Just, uh, sit tight.
- Yeah, I'll be right here.
You look good, B.
It was Kimmy's birthday tonight.
Well, I saved you
from a wicked hangover.
- [CHUCKLES] Yeah.
- You're welcome.
So what do we tell Lizzi?
We wait.
You just started this
round of treatment.
We don't have any of the answers yet,
- so I think we wait.
- Okay.
Okay. Yeah.
But, Benita
I'm sick.
Someone's got to be the 6%, John.

- Morning, Benita.
- Morning, Larry.
- This is for me, right?
- Yep.
Thank you.
- Morning, Benita.
- Good morning.
- Oh, I have pitches for you.
- Great.
- Lunch?
- Sure.
- Meet you in the commissary?
- Yuck. See you then.
- Oh, you have my fugitive story?
- Uh
Tomorrow. I mean it.
- Ah, good morning to you.
- I did shots.
- Yeah, you did.
- Sorry I had to take off.
- Oh, God, please.
You don't need
I'm sorry.
- How is he?
- The same.
- We can skip the condolences.
Sure, whatever you need.
Aw, that's pretty.
Those are John's.
He asked me to look after
them while he's, you know
Those are his favorite.
[SIGHS] Work is good.
Work is good. Work is good.
Copy that. Work is good.
I've been trying to get an angle
on this medical piece for
a TV special I'm producing.
Generational medicine?
- Regenerative medicine.
- Sure.
I read this piece in "The Times"
about this little girl
who needs a new windpipe,
and her family's working
with this doctor in Europe
who's developing artificial organs.
Medical miracles?
Ooh, I hate that word "miracle."
- I don't hate this guy.
- That's the doctor.
He's actually got a
pretty impressive CV.
He's worked all around the world,
published in "The Lancet,"
research grants out of Karolinska.
It's where they give
out the Nobel Prize.
- Hmm.
- And he's Italian.
Mm. Roma or Olive Garden?
I don't know.
who are we today?
Oh. [CHUCKLES] Bina.
- That's cute.
- So this little girl
she lives in this tiny town, Yongsan-gu.
- Korea?
- Yeah.
But she's coming to the States
for her surgery that's her.
That's Hannah Warren.
This is a really good story, B.
- It is, right?
- Mm-hmm.
I like it. It's
it's really hopeful.

Yeah, this is worth missing lunch for.
Fuck off. This guy's brilliant.
- Did you read the material?
- I'm getting there.
It's really interesting.
- You having trouble there?
- [CHUCKLES] A little bit.
- I think it's this one here.
- Ah, this one, yeah.
- Okay.
- There you go.
- All good?
- Yeah, all good, yeah.
- It works.
- Awesome. Thank you.
Okay, great.
colleagues, good afternoon.
It's great to see
such a wide spectrum of
fields represented here today.
I only wish some of my own lectures
- could get crowds like this.
Now, I'm sure you're all eager to hear
from Karolinska's newest addition.
He is a professor, researcher,
and thoracic surgeon
Dr. Paolo Macchiarini.
Thank you, Provost Hedley.
I'm simply happy that
you will have me here
working in this incredible institution.
"God breathed into
Adam the breath of life,
and he became man"
Genesis 2:7.
Breath is the essence of life,
the one thing that comes naturally
to all of us from birth to breathe.
When a patient has a damaged trachea,
our options, unfortunately,
have been very limited.
Tracheostomies allow
patients to live, yes,
but with what quality of life?
The focus of my research
is tracheal transplants
with the help of stem cells
"the God cells" as they
have been called recently.
We harvest the donor
trachea from a cadaver
and strip it of the donor cells.
Then we reseed the organ
with the patient's stem cells,
preparing it for implantation.
I have successfully
applied this technique
to multiple patients around the world
most recently to a 19-year-old patient
named Keziah Shorten in London.
She was diagnosed with
adenoid cystic carcinoma
and only had months to live.
Now, two months after the operation,
she's healthy and happy
with her donor trachea.

This is an exciting step,
but it is still a very flawed process.
Why? Because of the donors.
We always have to wait for
the perfect-size trachea.
So I thought, what if we skip that step?
And so we did.
We were able to eliminate
the donors altogether
by developing biosynthetic tracheas
custom-designed to fit
the individual patient.
Using the same process,
we seed the trachea
with the patient's stem cells,
transforming it into a living organ.
We have conducted swine trials
with just incredible results.
- Look at those happy pigs.
And that brings us here today,
where I'm happy to announce
the final phase of our work
the very first human
biosynthetic transplant
to take place right here at Karolinska.
Once we conquer the trachea,
we'll be able to expand
our work to heart valves,
blood vessels, even entire organs.
The potential for this
technology is endless.
Imagine for a moment
buying a 3D-printed organ
off the shelf,
like groceries from a supermarket.
Imagine a world where no
human being will ever die
while waiting for an organ donor.
Imagine this
the future of medicine
the future that we will build together.

Thank you.

Ah, Dr. Lasbrey, let me introduce you.
- Dr. Macchiarini.
- Oh, please call me Paolo.
- Paolo, wonderful to meet you.
- Thank you.
I've been following
your research closely,
since your first bronchus
transplants in Barcelona.
Oh, thank you. That's very flattering.
Uh, Dr. Lasbrey's a
cardiothoracic surgeon.
Uh, she's been working
on some stem-cell-regeneration
research of her own.
- Oh.
- My focus is vascular repair
blood vessel regeneration.
I've had some progress,
but I never thought
to recellularize a bioartificial graft.
Do you build the scaffolds
to replicate the porousness
- of real tracheal cartilage?
- Exactly.
So you're basically tricking the body
into thinking the implant's
already a part of you.
haven't really thought
about it that way, but,
yes, that's exactly it, yeah.
- It's brilliant.
- Oh.
The broad applications
for technology like this
How? H-h-how do you trick them?
More specifically,
h-how does a synthetic
cell create blood vessels,
uh, basal layers, and fend off bacteria?
And this is Dr. Gamelli,
also one of our cardiothoracic surgeons.
He'll be in charge
of post-operative care
for any patients you
bring to Karolinska.
- What's up?
- Very nice to meet you.
Dr. Gamelli, I could walk you through
the research again, if you like.
That's very thoughtful of you.
Yes, well, we are hopeful
that Dr. Macchiarini's research
will establish Karolinska
as the world leader in
regenerative medicine.
Perhaps he'll even bring the Nobel home.
Oh, well, we're just at
the beginning of our work.
But the implications
for future transplants
are historic.
Dr. Lasbrey, would you
would you be interested
in assisting on the
first transplant patient?
"Interested" isn't
exactly how I'd put it.
Then it's done.
Oh, thank you, really. I-I'm honored.
Welcome to the team. [CHUCKLES]
I do wonder, as it
relates to my research,
how are the grafts
transformed into living cells?
How do they come alive?
[SIGHS] It's, uh
it's like magic.



You were supposed to be here
at 3:00, Dr. Macchiarini.
I'm so sorry. I was riding,
and I went over a bridge
that was supposed to
take me to Brooklyn,
when, in fact, I was
already in Brooklyn.
So that bridge took me to Staten Island,
which was very interesting
but very far away.
So I'm deeply, deeply
sorry to keep you waiting.
I guess picturing you on that bike
crossing the Verrazzano Bridge
might be punishment enough.
[CHUCKLES] Verrazzano
Bridge is the name?
- Can I get you something, sir?
- Um, an espresso with sugar.
Regular sugar or, um
- Ah, oui.
- Okay.
I mean, sugar is sugar, as
long as it's sweet, okay?
Merci beaucoup.
How many languages do you
speak, Dr. Macchiarini?
Um, one I speak okay, six very poorly.
- Which one is okay?
- No one will tell me.
Do you bring that everywhere you go?
That is rented guilty pleasure.
Why guilty?
Do you ride?
Uh, I did, a long time ago.
Well, maybe you will ride again.
As I said on the phone,
I'm producing a special
on regenerative medicine,
and I'm very interested
in your upcoming
operation on Hannah Warren.
- Is this okay?
- Yeah.
Tell me about it.
She was born with a congenital anomaly
called tracheal agenesis.
- Very rare.
- Mm.
Her windpipe never fully developed,
so she's never been able
to breathe on her own.
She's never been able to
even leave the hospital.
It's a tragedy.
She's stuck in a bed,
not being able to
to go outside, to play,
to to run, to eat lollipops
to be a kid.
Do you have children?
I have a 9-year-old daughter.
Can you imagine
if your daughter never
tasted a lollipop?
- No. No, I can't.
- Yeah, that's that's Hannah.
Do you mind if we
Should we take a walk outside?
- Sure.
- Yeah.
- I think it's better, yeah.
- Okay.
So this is the first artificial
trachea transplant in the U.S.,
and you chose Chicago because
of Hannah's pediatrician?
Yes. He works at a Catholic hospital,
and they're funding the operation.
The Catholic Church doesn't mind
supporting stem cell research?
Well, actually there is, uh
there is a high commission
at the Vatican involved
in stem cell research.
- Really?
- Yeah.
It's not only that.
They really want to help Hannah.
They they believe she's
been sent to us by God.
Sent to you for a miracle?
Is that what you want to be
known for performing miracles?
That sounds a little a little too
What's the word you
use here? Um, h-hokey?
- Hokey, yeah.
- Hokey, yeah, sounds
Just a little hokey, Dr. Macchiarini.
- Too much.
- So, even though
you've performed this operation before,
Hannah will be the
youngest patient of yours
to ever receive a
biosynthetic transplant.
That's correct.
Does that give you pause?
I've been thinking lately
that my entire career,
maybe even my entire life
has led me here
to this little girl,
who definitely needs
this more than anyone.
It's still an extremely
experimental procedure.
Yeah, it is. It's new. It's complicated.
It's a little controversial.
We have to fight really
hard to get permission
to operate here in the U.S.
But without it, Hannah
will certainly die.
So, if there's one
chance to save one person,
I think it's worth the risk.
So I'm doing a story,
and I want Hannah's journey
to be the focus of the piece.
Actually, I was hoping that
you might be able to put me
in touch with the Warrens directly.
- Okay, I'll see what I can do.
- Great.
All right, Doctor, it's
officially after work hours.
I have to go pick up my daughter.
- What's her name?
- Her name is Lizzi.
- Lizzi.
- Mm.
Well, I hope I get to hear
more about her next time we meet.
I hope you're on time next time we meet.

Okay, driving car, honking, beep, beep.
Cars, uh, traffic? Traffic! Traffic.
- Okay, traffic.
- Okay, okay.
Wait, where'd we go?
Butter bread? Toast?
Peanut butter?
Traffic traffic peanut butter!
Okay, time's up.
- Traffic jam!
- ALL: Oh!
Traffic jam!
I love traffic peanut butter, though.
- But she was like, yes.
All right, it's bedtime for one of us.
No, I gave you an
extra half hour, kiddo.
Come here.
- Mom, I can't breathe.
I know, but I'm gonna be at the airport
when you wake up in the morning,
and Laura's gonna take you to school.
Why can't Daddy just take me?
'Cause he's still not feeling well.
But we're gonna go visit
him as soon as I get back.
I promise you, okay?
All right, brush,
jammies, wash, bed, please.
I'll be right in.
- [SIGHS] I'm a monster.
- Stop it.
How long are you gonna be in Chicago?
Too long.
You would think that
leaving would get easier,
but it does not.
Well, maybe you can distract
yourself by playing doctor.
- Oh, stop it.
- Is he single?
- Divorced.
Ah, see? Look at you checking his stats.
Don't be ridiculous. He's a source.
Not even a sexy, charming doctor source
is worth getting fired over.
Uh, if I can handle myself
around sexy, charming Obama,
I can handle myself around
sexy, charming doctor.
I know, I know. I'm just kidding.
BOTH: You don't fuck your sources.
- Thank you.
- Well, he's not my source.
So, if you need an Italian translator,
just put in a good word for me.
- Oh.
- If it comes up naturally.
- If it comes up naturally.
- I'm just saying.
- Yeah.
Hey, that doesn't sound
like brushing to me.
Okay, okay.
How's John?
You know.
Getting worse?
I don't know what I'm gonna do, Kim.
You're a great mother, B. Just
follow your instincts.
I don't think I have instincts
when it comes to something like this.


Svensson scientist.
Macchiarini genius.
Well, that is an
interesting way to say hello.
Hi, I'm Paolo.
Not so much a genius.
Anders Svensson, not so much scientist.
- He's a little shit.
Oh, I'm delighted to
meet you, Dr. Macchiarini.
Thank you.
The whole building is zzz
buzzing about your arrival.
I'm sorry to have missed your lecture.
I've been busy with my
friends here, I'm afraid
- a heart study.
- Yeah, yeah, not at all.
I'm actually very glad to meet you.
I read your research on
progenitor cell functions
in skin regeneration
- very interesting.
- Thank you.
- So these are your friends.
- Yes.
Eric, Gunnar.
- So you give them names.
- Ah, busted!
- Well, I
I know maybe I shouldn't,
but sitting in these labs all day,
it all quickly become numbers,
gene strains in your head.
It's easy to forget we deal
with real life and death.
So I name the rats.
So here's Mikael 7.
He's a bit of a rascal.
- Lost his appetite.
So, Doctor, um, I'm very sorry
to come to you right away
with a favor, but here I am.
No, uh, please.
I was wondering if
you would be interested
in collaborating on rat
trials to test our tracheas.
Ooh, I'd be honored. I
But if I've heard correctly,
you've already completed swine trials.
Yeah, and they went very well,
but, you know, the
more trials, the better.
I couldn't agree more.
Ah, methodology is a lost art.
So you will be interested
in conducting the trials?
- Ooh-cha-cha!
Absolutely. I'd be honored.
Yeah, fantastic. Welcome to the team.

- My key card's not working.
- Mine neither.
Well, the woman said
she'd be right back.
I don't know I thought I'd try
to get a little work
done in the meantime.
- Gambling?
- What?
- Are you a gambler?
- Oh, no. [CHUCKLES] No.
These are these
are conversation cards.
What is that?
They're kind of like
conversation starters.
- May I?
- Yeah, yeah.
I I found them when I was young.
They were my grandmother's, I think.
My family's a little
But, uh, they're kind of my
secret weapon for interviews.
- Mm, they are?
- BOTH: Mm-hmm.
Yeah, people get nervous when
they have to answer questions.
Ah, of course.
And this kind of makes
it like a little game.
- I just say, pick a card.
I don't know. I think it works.
Ah, I'm sure they do.
Your subjects are so relaxed,
it's like they're not even on camera.
- Thank you.
- Yeah.
You are very good on camera, you know.
No, no, not at first.
I could use your cards.
Actually, I-I did.
I did use one of them on you already.
- You did?
- Mm-hmm.
Mm, yeah.
"If you could be famous for
one thing, what would it be"?
And you never answered the question.
- And I'm never going to.
- [CHUCKLES] Okay.
Well, then go ahead
and pick another card.
Go for it.
"Tell me a story about
your childhood fear."
Well, life was difficult
when I was a boy.
My mom is Italian,
but I never really felt Italian myself.
It was just the two of us.
We moved very often.
Spain, of course, but before
that, it was Switzerland.
And that was lonely.
That feeling, that was my fear
being an immigrant,
underestimated, isolated.
I held on to that feeling
for a very long time,
and and I never wanted
to feel that way ever again.
Miss, I'm so sorry for the delay.
- Oh, thank you.
- You're welcome.
Uh, miss, sorry, could
you help me, too, please?
- Oh, yes, of course.
- Thank you.
I thought you were gonna
say spiders or something.
Yeah, here's the pink one.
Or should we do that?
She was, um she was
blue when she came out.
And, uh, we, uh we
just we begged her.
We said, cry, baby girl, cry.
And, um, they were able to
find a, uh a tiny hole
leading to her lungs there,
but they said she would never
leave the hospital, you know,
that she wouldn't survive.
So I, um I did a, uh, uh
I did I did a Google search
on on trachea surgeries,
and I just started seeing more and more
about Dr. Macchiarini's
groundbreaking transplants
you know, the Miracle Man.
So she just needs one thing, right?
And that's a windpipe right there.
And then everything's
going to be fine, okay?
We will monitor her for a few more days
while we prepare the trachea.
We have discussed the details
at length, the risks.
It is a very difficult surgery.
We have tried everything.
You were the only one willing.
You were the only one who gave us hope.
You are the one who will
give her a chance to live.
- I will try my best.
- Believe me.
- Okay.
- Yeah, thanks.
Hello, Hannah.
Right? Hmm, Hannah?

I have sort of a
tradition when I travel.
I like to eat paella.
It's kind of like a good-luck thing.
It reminds me of home.
Anyway, there's a restaurant,
a good one, close by.
Maybe you want to join me?
- Yeah?
- That that sounds great.
- Hey, guys?
- Hmm?
You want to join the
doc for dinner tonight?
- Sure, sounds good.
- Let's do it.
Okay, yeah, just text me the address.
- Okay.
- Yeah.
- All right, let's go.



You didn't eat tonight.
You were watching me eat?
No, I was watching you not eat.
Is there anything I can do
about what is making you so sad?
How do you know I'm so sad?
Anyone who's really looking could see.
It's my ex-husband, John.
It started with the headaches
and then the fainting
and forgetting, and
and then they started throwing
around the word "terminal."
- Glioblastoma?
- Yeah.
Is it operable?
No, the the tumor is too
deeply embedded in the
No, it's not.
I'm sorry.
And, you know, with our daughter
- Lizzi.
- Lizzi, yeah.
You know, even though
we're not together,
it's always been the three of us.
Mm, I understand.
I have two children.
They're grown now, but when
their mother and I divorced,
it was difficult.
But, you know, children are
much stronger than we think.
Look at Hannah.
I just keep second-guessing myself
what to tell her, if I should tell her.
And then I get pissed
because I don't want to have
to tell her anything, you know?
And then I think, maybe I shouldn't,
because I've been doing
all of this research.
And, you know, 6%
that's what they keep telling us, 6%.
Someone's got to be the 6%, right?
I have seen far too much death
sudden, expected, certain.
You know your daughter,
so you know what's best.
But to be able to say goodbye
that is a gift.

- Hi.
- Hey, welcome back.
She's in her room.
[GASPS] Mom, you're home early!
- Yeah. Just for the day.
I have to go back tomorrow.
Oh, my God, so I have to tell you this,
'cause I was going to
tell you this last night
whenever we talked.
But I wanted to see what happened today
so I can tell you the whole story.
[GASPS] I can't wait
to hear all about it.
But first, I wanted to
talk to you about your dad.

It's that first door up here.

Knock, knock.
Hi, sweetheart.
Vasilyev to Orlov, to Orlov again.
- You losing?
- Hey, there you are.
No, no, no, we're ahead.
Those Russian bastards,
they can't stop Zlatan.
- Skol.
- Cheers.
- Happy Hump Day happy hour!
- You're embarrassing.
You want me to ask her out for you?
- No, don't
- Hey, hey, hey.
It would be nice
for Wilma and I to
have couples for dinner.
Well, I'm washing my
hair that night, so
I heard you joined
Macchiarini's research team.
Yes, new rat trials.
- Uh, he, uh uh
- What?
Well, I thought the point of our
[SHOUTING] Hump Day happy hour
[NORMAL VOICE] Is that you
don't have to talk about work.
I'm a complicated man, Anders.
Sorry. Apologize for that, my language.
Yeah, his work is exciting, no?
Your lack of interest is
decidedly uninteresting.
You think everyone is "meh."
The science doesn't seem sound.
Well, you know, it's not exactly
your kind of science no offense.
I said, no offense.
I will admit I don't get it.
I don't understand
how a-a plastic trachea
can produce its own blood supply.
- Well, stem cells.
- That's just it.
Stem cell research,
regenerative medicine
it's it's like an arms race.
Everybody's scrambling
for the most patents,
the most grants, who
can make the most money.
That's not how medicine works.
It's not how it should work.
If I wanted that world, I
could have stayed in New Jersey.
That's a penalty every day in the week.
Oh, sorry, you were
you you were talking to me?
Hey, I agree with you on the science.
But this is the way it works.
Competition fuels progress.
Now a lovely play, through across
I-I Hey, oh, oh, hey!
All right.
I'm going I'm going to
make it warm because it's cold.
See, it's cold. [CHUCKLES]
Okay, Hannah, breathe.
Breathe in with me. [INHALES DEEPLY]

You want me to check her, too?

me to take that out?
Hmm? Yeah?

- We will tomorrow, yeah?
Uh, could I get a glass of Malbec
to take up to my room, please?
- Thanks.
- Sure.
- Hi.
- Hi.
Is that Hannah's file?
Just going through the details again.
You seem to have a lot of rituals.
I didn't realize surgeons
were so superstitious.
It's more like a prayer.
It doesn't matter how many times
I perform these operations,
I always get nervous.
You think you're prepared,
but there can always be
something that you miss
that can cost a life.
cannot imagine the stress.
Someone's life in your hands
But I have watched you for a while now,
and the people around
you, your patients
you really give them hope.
They trust you.
Maybe you should trust you.

Good night, Doc.







She's okay?

The surgery went well.
There were no complications,
but she'll be asleep for a while longer.
What do we do now?
Now we wait.
Okay, Hannah, you're going
to give us a deep breath.
[WHISPERING] Another one.

[NORMAL VOICE] So how are
you feeling, then, huh?
- Good!
She's feeling good.
We have a little present for you.
Look, look.
Ah, what's that?
Oh, wow.
Go ahead, honey. Yeah.

- It tastes good, yeah?
- Oh.
She loves it.
It tastes good.

- Hi.
- Got some ice, huh?
- Uh-huh, yeah.
Today was
[SIGHS] Unlike anything I've ever seen.
So you're happy with
the ending of your story?
It's hopeful, which is
what I was hoping for, yeah.
What you did
It was a miracle.
I wanted to say thank you
For what you said to me the
night before the operation.
Those words
they were more important
than you could possibly know.

[SOFTLY] Paolo, I shouldn't.



Previous EpisodeNext Episode