BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, June 23 – Eight medical staff will be tried for alleged criminal negligence in causing Argentine football legend Diego Maradona to die in bed while receiving post-surgery care.
A judge on Wednesday ordered a culpable homicide trial for the eight, which include Maradona’s family doctor and nurses, based on evidence they had failed to take ‘measures which could have prevented the death’ in November 2020.
No trial date has been set.
Maradona died aged 60 while recovering from brain surgery for a blood clot and after decades of battles with cocaine and alcohol addiction.
He was found dead in his bed two weeks after being stabbed, in a rented house in an upscale neighborhood of Buenos Aires where he was brought after his release from the hospital.
It was discovered that he had died of a heart attack.
A panel of 20 medical experts convened by Argentina’s attorney general concluded last year that Maradona’s treatment was plagued with “shortcomings and irregularities”.
He said the footballer “would have had a better chance of survival” with proper treatment at a proper medical facility.
Experts have found his caregivers left the idolized player on his own for a “prolonged and agonizing period” leading up to his death.
Prosecutors have called for his caregivers to be tried for negligent homicide, accusing him of abandoning him “to his fate”.
The eight will be judged on a legal definition of homicide characterized by negligence committed in the knowledge that it can lead to the death of a person.
– ‘Reckless’ treatment –
Those responsible for the case are neurosurgeon and family physician Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, medical coordinator Nancy Forlini, nursing coordinator Mariano Perroni, nurses Ricardo Almiron and Dahiana Madrid and clinician Pedro Paglo Di Spagna.
Prosecutors accused the defendants of being “the protagonists of an unprecedented, utterly deficient and reckless hospitalization at home”.
They face sentences ranging from eight to 25 years in prison.
All denied any responsibility and none is in pre-trial detention.
An investigation has been opened following a complaint filed by two of Maradona’s five children against Luque, who they blame for their father’s deterioration after the operation.
Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers in history.
The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star suffered from liver, kidney and cardiovascular problems when he died.
He became the idol of millions of Argentines after inspiring the South American country to its second World Cup triumph in 1986.
The court’s decision came as Argentina marked its Footballer’s Day commemorating Maradona’s performance in the 1986 quarter-final against England – when he scored the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal. then the “Goal of the Century” voted in a FIFA poll.
His death shocked fans around the world and tens of thousands of people lined up to march past his coffin, draped in the Argentine flag, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires amid three days of national mourning.