Diego Maradona doctors face 25 years behind bars after cops open murder investigation into football star's death05/20/2021
DIEGO Maradona's doctors face 25 years behind bars after cops opened a murder investigation into the football star's death.
The probe launched shortly after the soccer legend was found lifeless in bed at his rented home last November.
State prosecutors in Argentina had classified it as a manslaughter investigation.
But today it emerged it has been reclassified following a damning report by a medical board which concluded Maradona’s care team acted “inadequately, deficiently and recklessly”.
Diego’s doctor Leopoldo Luque and his psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov are among seven health professionals told they are now under formal investigation on suspicion of a type of homicide.
They face an accusation they acted in a way they knew could lead to someone’s death but did nothing to avoid it.
A conviction would carry a prison sentence of between eight and 25 years under Argentinian law – far more than the one to five years they would have faced if convicted on the lesser charge.
Luque, who is denying any wrongdoing, is also facing a charge of employing a ‘doctored document’ over claims he used a forged Diego Maradona signature to ask a hospital for his medical records.
No formal charges have yet been laid.
The seven health professionals will now receive formal summons so they can be questioned under oath from May 31.
Prosecutors have also asked a judge to ban them from leaving Argentina ahead of the interrogations.
The damning medical board report handed to investigators at the start of the month said the former Naples and Barcelona star could still be alive today if he had been kept in hospital after a brain blood clot op instead of being allowed to move to a rented home near Buenos Aires where signs his life was in danger were “ignored”.
The report was completed after a two-month probe by a 20-strong team of experts including a cardiologist, physiatrists and toxicologist.
It stated: “The actions of the health team responsible for Maradona’s care was inadequate, deficient and reckless.
“Although it’s counterfactual to say that Maradona would not have died if he had been properly looked after in hospital, given his medical history in the days leading up to his death, we believe he would have had a greater chance of surviving.”
Its conclusions heaped more pressure on the health professionals being probed over Maradona’s November 25, 2020, death from heart failure.
The medical board also concluded Maradona, 60 when he died, was not in “full possession of his mental faculties” after he was admitted to a hospital in the city of La Plata – an hour and a half’s drive south of the capital Buenos Aires on November 2 last year where his brain blood clot was discovered.
They say he “began to die” 12 hours before he was pronounced dead just after midday on November 25, but “the life risk signs the patient was showing were ignored”.
Initial post-mortem results revealed recovering cocaine addict Diego, who also had alcohol problems, had suffered heart failure which caused a pulmonary edema.
Medics are also said to have detected dilated cardiomyopathy, a medical condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened and enlarged and cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body.
Pulmonary edema, fluid accumulation in the lung’s tissue and air spaces, is caused by heart problems in most cases.
Subsequent blood and urine tests showed he had no traces of alcohol or illegal drugs in his blood or urine when he died, but he was suffering from major heart, liver and kidney problems.
Tests also revealed a cocktail of prescription drugs including Quetiapine, Venlafaxine and Levetiracetam which are used to treat depression, panic attack and epilepsy among other conditions.
Although some of the drugs found in his system can cause arrhythmia, the tests confirmed there is no evidence Maradona was being given medication for the heart disease he was suffering.
The other five people under investigation have been named as nurses Ricardo Omar Almiron, 37 and Dahiana Gisela Madrid, 36; nursing team co-ordinator Mariano Perroni, 40; doctor Nancy Forlini, 52; and psychologist Carlos Angel Diaz, 29.
Luque accused the medical board of erring in their findings in an interview earlier this month and added: “I never thought Diego was going to die.”
It was his first interview since he broke down in tears days after Maradona’s shock death following a search of his home near Buenos Aires.
He claimed: “If I’m responsible for anything when it comes to Diego, it was loving him, caring for him, improving his life to the end and extending it.”
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