In a bizarre twist to the death of Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona in November 2020, his eight-person medical team will now stand trial for homicide related to his case.
The group of doctors, nurses and a psychologist are all charged with simple homicide after a medical board found they cared for Maradona in an “improper, deficient and reckless manner”.
Maradona’s official cause of death was cardiac arrest, who died aged 60 at his home in Dique Luján in Buenos Aires. At the time, he was recovering from an operation in which a blood clot was removed from his brain and also reportedly suffered alcohol withdrawal after the procedure.
Argentina immediately declared three days of national mourning for the footballing icon, but fans continued to feel shock and disbelief, while others wondered what led to his untimely death. Lawyer Mario Baudry, employed by one of Maradona’s sons, explained: “As soon as I saw the cause, I said it was homicide. I fought for a long time and here we are, this step is taken. He also described Maradona’s condition as “a situation of helplessness” at the end of his life.
The 236-page document attached to the case confirms that the medical team will be tried, and the judge questions whether the defendant “contributed to the achievement of the harmful result”. That being said, the medical team denies responsibility, with the psychiatrist’s lawyer stating: “A culprit is sought at all costs and objectivity is lost.”
The defendants include the football star’s personal doctor, Leopoldo Luque, as well as a psychiatrist, psychologist, nurses and other doctors. Dr. Luque is the one who performed Maradona’s blood clot surgery.
Luque spoke at a press conference in November 2020 after his home was raided by police once investigations into Maradona’s cause of death were underway. He said the football star’s relatives and fans were “trying to find a scapegoat” and that “there was no medical error” in his treatment.
The doctor continued, “You want to know what I am responsible for? For having loved him, for having taken care of him, for having prolonged his life, for having improved it to the end.
He also pointed to Maradona’s well-documented addiction to drugs and alcohol, saying the medical team “has put in place a containment plan for the problem of the pills he was taking and to control the alcohol consumption. “, but that Maradona “did what he wanted.”
The trial does not yet have a date, but a guilty verdict could lead to eight to 25 years in an Argentine prison for the members of the medical team.
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