Seven medical professionals have been charged with simple homicide with eventual intent in the death of soccer legend Diego Maradona, according to ESPN. The seven individuals have been requested not to be permitted to leave the country by the prosecutors' office in San Isidro, Argentina. If found guilty, those accused could face between eight to 25 years in prison.
Maradona died at the age of 60 in November 2020 from heart failure. This happened two weeks after undergoing brain surgery, and Leopoldo Luque, the neurosurgeon who performed the operation on Maradona, is among the seven individuals charged. Luque, along with psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov who treated Maradona, denied any wrongdoing.
Private conversations between the doctors and people from Maradona's entourage were leaked to the media and have indicated that Maradona wasn't properly looked after before his death. This led to the family demanding justice and have called out Luque for his actions. Shortly after Maradona's death, Argentinian police raided Luque's home. The doctor then told reporters he has "nothing to hide," while adding Maradona's death had nothing to do with the surgery.
"We were all gathered to see the best for Diego: the doctors, myself, his family. Nothing could be done without his will," Luque said. "We sought to put together a containment scheme for the issue of the pills he was taking and to control alcohol consumption. There were no medical criteria [to keep Maradona in the hospital]. We could have taken him to a rehabilitation centre, but we needed Diego's okay. It was his decision."
"Here there are no decisions, there are medical criteria. When you operate on a patient, the discharge criteria depend on the patient," he continued. "There wasn't a doctor error. He had a heart problem that can happen in a patient like him. Everything possible was done to reduce that chance, but you cannot block the possibility. I had the full endorsement of the Argentine Society of Neurosurgery that Diego needed the surgery. Six doctors evaluated him. Death had nothing to do with [the surgery]."
The prosecutors' office appointed a medical board to determine if there was evidence of culpable homicide from Maradona's medical team. The board said the medical team acted in an "inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner" and left him "to his own devices." The other people charged are two nurses, a nurse coordinator, a doctor and a psychologist. They will begin testifying from May 31 to June 14.