Maradona's caregivers to stand trial

BUENOS AIRES • Eight medical personnel will stand trial for alleged criminal negligence in the death of football legend Diego Maradona, according to a court ruling made public on Wednesday.

No date has been set for the trial of the staff over Maradona's death in 2020, which prosecutors say was due to "omissions" by his caregivers who abandoned him "to his fate" during home hospitalisation.

The Argentinian died aged 60 while recovering from brain surgery for a blood clot, after decades of battling with cocaine and alcohol addictions.

Two weeks after going under the knife, he was found dead in bed in a rented house in an exclusive Buenos Aires neighbourhood.

Maradona was found to have died of a heart attack.

A panel of 20 medical experts convened by Argentina's public prosecutor concluded last year that his 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 his caregivers had abandoned the idolised player to his fate for a "prolonged, agonising period" leading up to his death.

Neurosurgeon and family doctor Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, medical coordinator Nancy Forlini and four other people, including two nurses, have been charged.

Prosecutors had asked that the defendants be tried for negligent homicide, stating: "They were the protagonists of an unprecedented, totally deficient and reckless hospitalisation at home."

They could be jailed for eight to 25 years. All have denied responsibility.

The investigation into Maradona's death was opened following a complaint filed by two of his five children against Luque, whom they blame for their father's deterioration after the operation.

Mario Baudry, a lawyer for one of Maradona's sons, said the World Cup winner was "in a situation of helplessness" by the time he died.

"As soon as I saw the cause, I said it was homicide. I fought for a long time and here we are, with this stage completed," he said.

Maradona, widely considered one of the greatest footballers in history, suffered from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he died.

He became an idol to millions of Argentinians after he inspired the South American country to only their second World Cup triumph in 1986 in Mexico.

His death shocked fans around the world, and tens of thousands queued to file past his coffin, draped in the Argentinian flag, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires during three days of national mourning.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2022, with the headline Maradona's caregivers to stand trial. Subscribe