Eight medical workers will stand trial over alleged criminal neglect that led to Argentine football legend Diego Maradona dying in bed while being treated after surgery.
A judge on Wednesday ordered a guilty manslaughter trial against the eight people, who include Maradona’s family doctor and nurses, based on evidence they had failed “to take measures that could have prevented the deaths” in November 2020
No trial date has been set.
Maradona died at the age of 60, recovering from brain surgery for a blood clot, and after decades of battles with cocaine and alcohol addiction.
He was found dead in bed two weeks after being put under the knife in a rented house in an exclusive neighborhood of Buenos Aires, where he was taken after being discharged from the hospital.
It was determined that he had died of a heart attack.
A panel of 20 medical experts convened by Argentina’s prosecutors concluded last year that Maradona’s treatment was fraught with “deficiencies and irregularities”.
It said the footballer “would have had a better chance of surviving” with proper treatment at an appropriate medical facility.
The experts noted that his handlers had left the idolized player to his fate for a “long, agonizing time” before his death.
Prosecutors requested that his caregivers be tried on involuntary manslaughter charges, accusing them of abandoning him “to his fate”.
The eight will stand trial on a legal definition of murder, which is characterized by negligence committed with the knowledge that it could result in a person’s death.
Indicted in the case are neurosurgeon and general practitioner Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, medical coordinator Nancy Forlini, care coordinator Mariano Perroni, nurses Ricardo Almiron and Dahiana Madrid, and clinician Pedro Paglo Di Spagna.
Prosecutors accuse the defendants of being “the protagonists of an unprecedented, totally inadequate and reckless home hospitalization”.
They face prison terms of between eight and 25 years.
All have denied responsibility and none is in custody.
An investigation has been launched after two of Maradona’s five children filed a complaint against Luque, which they blame for their father’s deterioration after surgery.
Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers in history.
The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular diseases when he died.
He became an idol for millions of Argentines after inspiring the South American country to their second World Cup triumph in 1986.
The court ruling came as Argentina celebrated its Footballer’s Day to commemorate Maradona’s performance in the 1986 quarter-final against England – when he scored the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal and then ‘Goal of the Century’, as per a FIFA poll chosen.
His death shocked fans around the world, and tens of thousands queued to pass his Argentine flag-draped coffin at the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires amid three days of national mourning.