Eight medical staff will stand trial for alleged criminal neglect that caused 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 includes Maradona’s family doctor and nurses, based on evidence that they had failed to “take action that could have prevented death” in November 2020.
No trial date has been set.
Maradona died at the age of 60 while recovering from a brain operation for a blood clot, and after decades of battles with cocaine and alcohol addiction.
He was found dead in bed two weeks after he went under the knife, in a rental house in an exclusive Buenos Aires neighborhood to which he was brought after being discharged from the hospital.
He was found to have died of a heart attack.
A panel of 20 medical experts convened by Argentina’s state prosecutor concluded last year that Maradona’s treatment was fraught with “shortcomings 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 caregivers left the idolized player to his fate for a “prolonged, painful period” that led to his death.
Prosecutors demanded that his caregivers be executed for negligent manslaughter, and they accused them of leaving him “to his fate”.
The eight will face a legal definition of manslaughter characterized by negligence in the knowledge that it could lead to a person’s death.
In the case, the neurosurgeon and family doctor Leopoldo Luque, the psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, the psychologist Carlos Diaz, the medical coordinator Nancy Forlini, the nursing coordinator Mariano Perroni, the nurses Ricardo Almiron and Dahiana Madrid, and the clinician Pedro Paglo Di Spagna are charged.
Prosecutors accused the accused of being “the protagonists of an unprecedented, totally flawed and reckless hospitalization at home.”
They risk sentences ranging from eight to 25 years in prison.
All of them have denied responsibility and none are in pre-trial detention.
An investigation has been opened following a complaint lodged by two of Maradona’s five children against Luque, blaming them 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 disorders when he died.
He became an idol for millions of Argentines after inspiring the South American country to their second World Cup victory in 1986.
The court ruling came as Argentina celebrated its Day of the Soccer player to commemorate Maradona’s performance in the 1986 quarter-final 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 stood in front of his coffin, draped in the Argentine flag, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires amid three days of national mourning.