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Medical staff charged with homicide in death of football legend Maradona

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Eight medical personnel will face charges for alleged criminal neglect that caused Argentine football legend Diego Maradona to die in bed while receiving post-operative care.

A judge on Wednesday ordered a wrongful death trial for the eight, including Maradona’s GP and nurses, based on evidence that they had not taken “action that could have prevented death” in November 2020.

No trial date has been set.

Maradona died at age 60 while recovering from brain surgery for a blood clot and after decades of battling cocaine and alcohol addiction.

Two weeks after going under the knife, he was found dead in bed in a rented house in an upscale neighborhood in Buenos Aires, where he was taken after being released from the hospital.

He appeared to have died of a heart attack.

A panel of 20 medical experts, convened by Argentina’s prosecutor, concluded last year that Maradona’s treatment was rife with “deficiencies and irregularities.”

It said the footballer “would have had a better chance of survival” with adequate treatment in an appropriate medical facility.

The experts found that his caretakers had left the idolized player to his own devices for a “prolonged, painful period” prior to his death.

Prosecutors demanded that his caretakers be tried for negligent death, accusing them of leaving him “to his own devices”.

The eight will face charges based on a legal definition of manslaughter that is characterized by negligence in the knowledge that it could lead to the death of a person.

‘Reckless’ treatment

The case includes neurosurgeon and general practitioner Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, medical coordinator Nancy Forlini, nurse coordinator Mariano Perroni, nurses Ricardo Almiron and Dahiana Madrid, and clinician Pedro Paglo Di Spagna.

Prosecutors have accused the defendants of being “the protagonists of an unprecedented, totally flawed and reckless hospitalization at home”.

They face sentences ranging from eight to 25 years in prison.

They have all denied responsibility and none are on remand.

An investigation was opened following a complaint filed by two of Maradona’s five children against Luque, whom they blame for their father’s decline after surgery.

Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players in history.

The former star of Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disease when he died.

He became an idol to millions of Argentines after inspiring the South American nation to their second World Cup victory in 1986.

The court’s ruling came as Argentina celebrated Footballer’s Day to commemorate Maradona’s 1986 quarter-final performance against England – when he scored the infamous “hand of God” goal and then the “Goal of the Century” as voted in a FIFA poll.

His death shocked fans around the world, and tens of thousands lined up to wait by his coffin, draped in the Argentine flag, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, amid three days of national mourning.

(AFP)

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