New medical report casts doubt over cause of Maradona’s heart attack ahead of homicide trial

May 3 – A medical examiner’s report into the death of Argentine legend Diego Maradona has questioned evidence in the criminal negligence case brought against eight medical workers a month before they are set to stand trial for homicide.

The forensic expert conducted the study at the behest of one of the main defendants, Maradona’s neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, in an effort to challenge the 2021 medical examination that held Luque and other doctors responsible for what it described as his otherwise avoidable death.

The defendants have denied any violations or irregularities in Maradona’s treatment.

Maradona died from a heart attack in 2020 while recovering from brain surgery. His death at age 60 devastated a generation of fans around the world and sent all of Argentina into mourning.

Within days, the country became consumed by questions about his final hours. Prosecutors ultimately charged eight medical workers with homicide. The trial is set to start June 4.

But now, a report from medical examiner Pablo Ferrari’s concluded that Maradona’s rapid, erratic heartbeat was either of natural origin or stemmed from an “external” factor, possibly a drug like cocaine that Maradona was known to have abused in the past. Ferrari said he couldn’t do a toxicology report based on Maradona’s insufficient urine sample.

“This marks a radical turn in the case,” Vadim Mischanchuk, the defence lawyer representing Maradona’s psychiatrist, Agustina Cosachov, told local media. “The account goes from being a cardiac event that lasts many days to one that lasts minutes.”

The findings contradict those of a 20-member medical panel appointed to investigate Maradona’s death. Their report accused Maradona’s medical team of acting in an “inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner,” leaving the player in agony and without help for more than 12 hours before his death.

The prosecutor’s office criticised Ferrari’s report as hastily cobbled together and accused him of neglecting four years of evidence in favour of “a minimal slice of evidence offered by the defence.”

Meanwhile, Maradona’s children have asked a court in Argentina to authorise the transfer of his body from the private cemetery where he is buried to a mausoleum under construction in Buenos Aires to allow fans from around the world to pay tribute to him.

They made the request to a court in San Isidro in a letter quoted on Thursday by local media. The mausoleum, called ‘Memorial del Diez’, under construction in the capital’s neighbourhood of Puerto Madero, is “a much safer place than the current one … so that all the Argentine people and citizens of the world can pay tribute to who was the greatest Argentine idol,” read the letter.

Maradona, who led Argentina to the World Cup in 1986, is buried in the Jardín de Bella Vista, a private cemetery in the town of San Miguel about 50 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires. Court approval is needed because of the ongoing criminal case.

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