Diego Maradona was in agony for the 12 hours leading up to his death, his treatment was “reckless and indifferent,” Argentine medical board says

  • May 2, 2021
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The Argentine football great “did not have full use of his mental faculties” and could have had “a better chance of survival” if he had been admitted to a healthcare facility, the medical board concluded in its report, which will become of the part of the judicial investigation into this death, the prosecutor handling the case confirmed to CNN.

Investigators are looking into why the former footballer was treated at a house during his final days and whether his psychological state allowed him to make decisions of his own accord, as well as looking into a lack of treatment for his heart condition, among other things.

Each of these elements is mentioned in the medical board report, which CNN obtained from a source working on the case.

No one has been formally charged, but seven people have been told they are under investigation, although they deny any responsibility.

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‘He would have had a better chance of survival’

“Although it is counterfactual to assert that DAM (Diego Armando Maradona) wouldn’t have died if he had been treated adequately, taking into account what was known about the days leading up to his death we agree that he would have had a better chance of survival if he had been treated in a healthcare facility according to medical best practice,” reads the report.

The work of Maradona’s medical team, led by neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque and psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, was heavily criticized by the investigators.

In addition to calling their actions “inadequate, deficient and reckless,” the board said it is possible to infer “that the medical team viewed fully and completely the possible death of the patient, were completely indifferent to the possibility and didn’t change their behavior or treatment plan, sustaining the damaging omissions laid out previously, leaving the health of the patient ‘to chance.'”

In November, Luque told prosecutors about his professional relationship with Maradona. “There is nothing to suggest I was negligent,” he said.

In December, Cosachov’s lawyer told CNN that his client “had used her best judgment from a medical point of view.”

Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona, wearing a diamond earring, balances a soccer ball on his head as he walks off the practice field following the national selection's May 22, 1986 practice session in Mexico City.
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‘He started to die at least 12 hours prior’

The experts also confirmed the results of an autopsy which determined that the cause of death was “acute pulmonary edema secondary to the exacerbation of chronic cardiac insufficiency” and tests did not find drugs or alcohol in his system.

But they underlined that Maradona, who was aged 60 at the time of his death, suffered prolonged agony.

“DAM started to die at least 12 hours before 12.30 p.m. on 25/11/2020, which is to say there were unmistakable signs of a period of prolonged agony, and as a result we conclude that the patient was not adequately monitored from 00:30 a.m.” that day.

“The warning signs that the patient exhibited were ignored,” continue the experts, who also mention an audio message sent to Maradona’s loved ones by physical therapist Nicolás Taffarel.

“Last week I told them we had to get him up because he could develop a pulmonary edema,” he said.

Diego Armando Maradona, at the time head coach of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, greets fans prior to a match against Boca Juniors at the Alberto J. Armando Stadium on March 7, 2020 in Buenos Aires.
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‘He did not have full use of his mental faculties’

The former footballer “did not have full use of his mental faculties, nor was he in a fit state to make decisions about his health, from at least the time he was admitted to (the medical clinic in the city of La Plata),” according to the report.

It goes on to discuss the supposed “home hospitalization” Maradona received at a house in Tigre, in the northern part of Buenos Aires, after he was checked out of the Olivos Clinic on November 11, and where he died two weeks later.

The board said the home hospitalization “was not so, as the basic conditions to hospitalize a patient with multiple complex pathologies like those DAM had did not exist.”

The medical experts also asserted that the nursing team at the house was “plagued by irregularities and deficiencies,” that the “correct checks and care” were not performed by “practicing physicians” and “therapeutic assistants.”

Finally, the board discussed the psychiatric medication prescribed to Maradona.

Despite being “suitable in both dosage and posology for his nervous disorder,” it can’t be ruled out “that this medication didn’t play a role in the fatal outcome” as “cardiological and laboratory tests were not carried out in the 14 days before death.”

Although all of those being investigated say they committed no wrongdoing, they have not yet commented on the medical board report, which will be analyzed by prosecutors working on the case to decide how the judicial investigation will move forward.

Diejo Laje contributed to this report.



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