San Isidro, Argentina:
A lawyer for a nurse under investigation in the death of Argentine football great Diego Maradona said Wednesday that doctors killed him through negligence.
“They killed Diego,” attorney Rodolfo Baque told reporters after his client, nurse Dahiana Gisela Madrid, was questioned by prosecutors.
Maradona died of a heart attack last November at the age of 60, weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot.
Madrid, 36, is one of seven people under investigation for manslaughter after a board of experts looking into Maradona’s death found he had received inadequate care and was abandoned to his fate for a “prolonged, agonizing period.”
Baque insisted it was the doctors treating Maradona while he recovered from the brain operation, not his client, who were to blame for the soccer legend’s death.
He said Maradona was being treated for heart trouble but at the same time was on psychiatric medication that sped up his heart rate.
Also, Maradona fell while in the hospital, and when Madrid asked to have a CAT scan done on him, an aide to Maradona refused, arguing that if the press found out it would look bad, Baque said.
“In the end, there were many warning signs that Maradona was going to die, give or take a day. And none of the doctors did anything to prevent it,” Baque said during a break in the interrogation of Madrid, which went on for more than eight hours.
Madrid was Maradona’s daytime nurse and one of the last people to see him alive.
An investigation was opened following a complaint filed by two of Maradona’s five children against neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, whom they blame for their father’s deteriorating condition after the brain operation.
A panel of 20 medical experts convened by Argentina’s public prosecutor said last month that Maradona’s treatment was rife with “deficiencies and irregularities” and the medical team had left his survival “to fate.”
If found guilty, the seven, who are barred from leaving the country, could face between eight and 25 years in prison.
Process to last months or years
Madrid was one of the people to have found Maradona with no signs of life and had tried to revive him, she said in a previous witness statement.
On Monday, Maradona’s nighttime nurse Ricardo Almiron, 37, was the first of the seven to be questioned by prosecutors.
Other medical staff involved in caring for Maradona will be questioned by prosecutors over the next two weeks.
A judge will decide whether the matter should go to trial in a process expected to last months, or even years.
Maradona had battled cocaine and alcohol addiction.
The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he died.
Maradona is an idol to millions of Argentines after he inspired the South American country to only their second World Cup triumph in 1986.
His death shocked fans around the world, and tens of thousands queued to file past his coffin, draped in the Argentine flag, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires amid three days of national mourning.
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