The Argentine Prosecutor’s Office, which is investigating the death of the soccer idol Diego Maradona, began on Monday the first appearance of the seven medical personnel suspected of having “abandoned” him to a slow agony and who risk being sent to court.
The Prosecutor’s Office of San Isidro, in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, opened an investigation for manslaughter with aggravating circumstances. It considers that the death, on November 25, 2020, of the 1986 world champion is the result of a malpractice and negligence of the medical team, which caused the deterioration of his health.
The nurse Ricardo Almiron will be the first to be questioned. Next will be a nurse, the coordinator of nurses, the medical coordinator of the hospitalization at home, a psychologist and the psychiatrist who is accused of not having ensured “the correct administration of medication and psychotropic drugs” that had been prescribed. The last to be heard on June 28 will be the 39-year-old neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, Diego Maradona’s personal physician.
Two daughters of the former captain of the Argentine team, Gianinna, 32, and Jana, 25, had shortly after the death publicly pointed to the responsibility of the practitioner in the deterioration of their father’s health, triggering the judicial process. The seven caregivers are heard free, but are forbidden to leave the territory.
After the interrogation, the prosecutor will refer the case to an investigating judge, with his recommendation to continue or close the investigation. If referred to a court, a decision that could take months or even years, they face sentences of eight to 25 years in prison. “This will probably go to trial, nothing indicates otherwise,” a judicial source close to the case told AFP.
Diego Maradona, who suffered from kidney, liver and heart problems, died of a heart attack alone in his home in Tigre, north of Buenos Aires, just weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot. He was 60 years old. In early May, an expert report concluded that the former player had been “abandoned to his fate” by his health care team, whose “inadequate, deficient and imprudent” treatment led him to a slow agony.
The 20 experts, including the forensic pathologists who performed the autopsy and specialists from various medical disciplines, concluded that “the life-threatening signs that he presented were ignored”.
According to the document, “the medical team fully and completely considered the possibility of the patient’s fatal outcome, but remained absolutely indifferent to this issue and did not change” its behavior and medical approach. “Given the clinical, clinical-psychiatric picture and the poor general condition, he should have continued his rehabilitation and interdisciplinary treatment in an appropriate institution,” the document insists.
The death of Diego Maradona, considered a soccer genius, created a global shock wave and upset Argentina. Tens of thousands of people attended the wake around the presidential palace, where his remains were taken.
Hand of God
The legendary number 10 had sparkled at club level, as well as for the national team, in the Albiceleste shirt. His goal against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup, which he renamed the “Hand of God”, is part of the history of the sport, as is his second goal, all dribbling.
Retired from the field at 37 years old, “el Diez” (the ten, his jersey number), then sank into drugs and alcohol, multiplying cardiac incidents, detoxification, obesity phases, at the risk of his health.