Is Dr. Anders Svensson Based on a Real Doctor? Where is He Now?

Image Credit: Clifton Prescod/Peacock

If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that season 2 of Peacock’s true crime anthology ‘Dr. Death’ lives up to the reputation of not just its title but its preceding debut production. After all, this incredible original carefully explores the tale of former thoracic surgeon Paolo Macchiarini as the web of both his personal and professional lies unfolds right in front of the world. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about the role Dr. Anders Svensson (portrayed by Gustaf Hammarsten in the series) had in it at every step — we’ve got the essential details for you.

Dr. Anders Svensson is a Version of Dr. Oscar Simonson

While it’s true thoracic technical specialist Oscar began working alongside Paolo shortly following the latter’s arrival at Karolinska Institute (KI) in 2010, his motives were sparked purely by curiosity. He wasn’t looking to expand his career or gain fame through his colleague’s regenerative methods, just like Dr. Anders, but he was looking to dive deeper into the field so as to help medicine as a whole. It was thus little surprise he agreed to carry out rat trials for Paolo’s procedure in his lab for further study despite there already being reports of such successful experimentation on pigs.

Image Credit: Scott McDermott/Peacock

Therefore, of course, Oscar was a co-author alongside Paolo plus others in the research report published by The Lancet in 2011 — by this time, he had no idea his co-worker’s work was a sham. It was still much too early in his trial back then for him to have reached a conclusive decision, even with his primary specialization in the computer tomographical examination of small animals. And when he did realize Paolo’s synthetic, regenerative tracheas were non-functioning, it was already a bit too late because a few patients had unfortunately already passed from severe complications.

Thus came Oscar’s decision to file a report with their organization, and he did so with the help of three of their other colleagues, Karl-Henrik Grinnemo, Matthias Corbascio, and Thomas Fux. He also asked for his name to be removed from the author lists of any published report that deemed Paolo’s procedure a ground-breaking triumph because his finding was that it was a complete disaster. His motives did consequently come under suspicion, yet he continued with his professional duties despite the troubles he or any of his collaborators faced – they wanted to do the right things.

In the end, the eventual third-party inquiry that stemmed from their detailed analysis found Paolo responsible for gross misconduct as well as a few board members liable for having acted without due care. Moreover, it’s imperative to note that Oscar himself was ruled to have been “blameworthy” for inadvertently abetting the thoracic surgeon’s actions for a while, but he didn’t cross the line into misconduct. Yet, the only blame he places is on the renowned university because he believes things definitely wouldn’t have gone as far as they did if they’d just listened to their suspicions from the get-go.

What Happened to Oscar Simonson?

Oscar actually continues to hold the Karolinska Institute responsible and has since vehemently expressed the whistleblowers “should have been taken seriously much earlier, [at least in 2014].” In fact, in 2023, he openly told The Telegraph that he thinks “They [KI] have not been punished enough: at a minimum, they should give the families of the patients who were killed reparations.” Coming to his current standing, from what we can tell, this MD-Ph.D. actually parted ways from KI back around the 2010s itself, and he has since been thriving in his cardiothoracic domain at the Uppsala University Hospital. It is a teaching medical center in Uppsala, Sweden, near Stockholm.

Read More: Kalle Grinnemo: Paolo Macchiarini’s Ex-Colleague is a Surgeon in Sweden Even Now