It is said that to be a successful surgeon one must have the eyes of a hawk, the heart of a lion and the hands of a lady. But if the surgeon is a conman, a compulsive liar and a suave butcher in disguise, you also need a gushing media to help push the narrative of the ‘saviour’: “Look at the ethical Swiss Surgeon with his groundbreaking 100% Animal Test-Free artificial windpipes!”

“Look at the Medical Knight holding his shining scalpels!”

“Look at the Handsome Doctor, saving lives with his cutting-edge methods!”

Except he wasn’t saving them. He was taking them. ‘The Bad Surgeon’, a Netflix documentary, chronicles the reign of terror and the tricks of the trade carried out by a purely evil, delusional, narcissistic and seasoned conman.

It also highlights how easily powerful individuals can literally ‘operate’ outside the boundaries of ethics and truth. Some of the sins here on display are literally mortal, thus bringing into focus the three important factors: Asking questions, standing up for the truth, and keeping power in check.

Whether male or female, healthy or sick, all humans are vulnerable. They are easily susceptible to manipulation by those who think they are invincible. Everyone wants Love and attention. Everyone wants a pill to fix all ills and a miracle solution to all the horrible diseases.

Everyone wants a messiah. And when someone comes along, assuming the stature of a demigod and pronounces that his ‘hands are instruments of God’, we blindly believe.

Watching it was so discomforting that my profound faith in human decency, which was somewhere around three on a scale of ten, has now been reduced to zero! So, if it serves as an eye-opener to our blind faith on fraudsters, the series also can be termed as a service to humanity.

Truth be told, the game of smooth operators playing their diabolical cards with efficiency is as ancient as the sun. Although swindles and scams have been going on for centuries, thanks to the internet, never before did we access information or understand human psychology as we are able to today.

Thanks to the media, never before have we also seen lies being manufactured so efficiently in the laboratory of TV channels. If the media had not participated in the creation of Paolo Macchiarini the surgeon who was celebrated globally for his development of artificial replacement tracheas, he wouldn’t have become so famous. Or infamous.

The basic rule of journalism is to stay objective and never get involved with the subject. But sadly this doesn’t happen and thus the entire orchestrated drama is aided by a media campaign with many different people in different institutions and different countries. With everyone participating in withholding information and sometimes even lying outright so that the web of lies is dexterously spun.

Basically what an irresponsible media does everywhere, is shutting the public’s eyes, ears and minds. And when the audience gets enamoured, not only is the miscarriage of justice neatly wiped out, people stop looking in the right direction and turn towards the fascinating airy fairy tale making headlines.

The entire con process is a slow and meticulous progression of building up a fictional palace on the foundation of lies. All successful con men do it, cleverly and gradually, brick by brick, gently cementing it with layers of confidence and promises, so that people don’t notice what’s happening.

That’s the way Macchiarini worked in medicine as well. He sold hope to his patients and dreams to the women in his life. But guess what? Since it takes two to tango, he wouldn’t be selling them if there weren’t any buyers.

So it isn’t always the conscious evil actions of just one man that can lead to disaster. It is also the unconscious cowardly nature existing in every human being who wilfully allows themselves to be hoodwinked. Sometimes emotional abuse can prey on your trust, and rob you of your common sense to believe what you wish were true. Therefore this series should also serve as a warning to the danger and falsity of such thinking.

Last but not the least, the ‘Bad Surgeon’ will also inspire you to get not only a second medical opinion but maybe a hundred! It’s hard to keep track of all the ethical violations depicted here, but perhaps the biggest takeaway is that when something appears too good to be true, it probably is.

What it also highlights is that in spite of all the well-oiled and aided machinery, if Karma decides to catch up, even the smartest and the most powerful of con men will eventually get caught due to their over smartness and stupidity. Nothing on earth can then stop such tricksters from going down their own rabbit hole of disaster.

In Germany there is a famous saying- ‘Operation erfolgreich, Patient tot’- which translates to: ‘Operation successful, patient dead’. This perhaps sums up the story of the disgraced Swiss-born thoracic surgeon Paolo Macchiarini.