According to a court ruling (AEST) released on Thursday, eight medical workers are on trial for alleged criminal negligence in the death of Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona.
No date has been set for the staff’s trial over Maradona’s death in 2020, which prosecutors say was due to “omissions” by his carers, who left him “to his fate” while hospitalized at home.
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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 upscale neighborhood of Buenos Aires, where he was taken after being discharged from 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.
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The experts noted that his handlers had left the idolized player to his fate for a “long, agonizing time” before his death.
Indicted in the case are neurosurgeon and general practitioner Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, medical coordinator Nancy Forlini and four others, including two nurses.
Prosecutors had requested that the defendants be tried on involuntary manslaughter charges, saying they were “the protagonists of an unprecedented, utterly flawed and reckless home hospitalization.”
They face prison terms of between eight and 25 years. All have denied responsibility.
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 only their second World Cup triumph in 1986.
The court ruling ordering the composition of a trial bench 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 ‘God hand’ goal and then the ‘Goal of the Century’ elected in a FIFA poll.
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.