Eight members of the medical team that tended to all-time soccer great Diego Maradona before his death two years ago have been charged with homicide in Argentina.
The legendary superstar was 60 when he died of cardiac arrest on November 25, 2020. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he was plagued throughout his career by drug and alcohol addiction. In a 236-page court ruling reviewed by Reuters, the judge pointed the finger at doctors, nurses, and a psychologist who treated him in his final days.
“As soon as I saw the cause, I said it was homicide,” Mario Baudry, a lawyer for one of Maradona’s sons, told Reuters. “I fought for a long time and here we are, with this stage completed.”
Maradona: Medical staff to be tried for football legend's death https://t.co/74B1QTfah6
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A medical panel charged with investigating Maradona’s death determined last year that the medical team acted in an “inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner.” In the Wednesday ruling, the judge raised the possibility that “the behaviors — active or by omission — of each of the accused which led to and contributed to the realization of the harmful result.”
The defendants charged with homicide included Maradona’s personal doctor, Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, nurses Gisella Madrid and Ricardo Almiron, their supervisor Mariano Perroni, and doctors Pedro Di Spagna and Nancy Forlini.
They each could face from eight to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Vadim Mischanchuk, an attorney for Cosachov, vowed to appeal the decision, and insisted his client’s treatment had no relation with Maradona’s cause of death.
“A guilty party is being sought at all costs and objectivity is being lost,” the lawyer told Reuters.
Named along with fellow legend Pelé as the joint FIFA Players of the 20th Century, Maradona was known for his spectacular passing and dribbling skills. But he was addicted to cocaine for decades, even as he was an international superstar playing for pro teams in Barcelona and Napoli.
After his career, Maradona was a coach for over a decade. He battled weight gain, and reportedly weighed nearly 300 pounds — at just 5-feet, 5-inches tall — before undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2005.
Weeks before his death, Maradona was admitted to a psychiatric facility, and then underwent an emergency brain surgery. He was released on November 12 and was in the care of his medical team at his Buenos Aires home until his death. He was so popular that after his death, his body lay in state in Argentina’s presidential palace as a huge succession of mourners passed by to pay their respects.