Soccer

Maradona may ‘still be alive’ if care team didn’t act "recklessly", report says

A medical board investigating Diego Maradona’sdeath has concluded the soccer icon’s care team acted “inadequately, deficiently and recklessly.”

The damning report also says 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.”

State prosecutors will be handed the full report on Monday following a two-month probe by the 20-strong team of experts, which includes a cardiologist, physiatrists and toxicologist.

Its conclusions are set to heap more pressure on the football legend’s doctor Leopoldo Luque and his psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, two of the seven people under formal investigation as part of a prosecution manslaughter probe.

There is growing speculation in Argentina the case could be recategorised as a homicide investigation, with prison sentences of up to 25 years for members of Diego’s care team if it is proven they acted in a way they knew could lead to someone’s death but did nothing to avoid it.

Neurosurgeon Luque, whose home and office was searched days after Maradona’s November 25 death from heart failure, has insisted he did nothing wrong and accused investigators of “trying to find a scapegoat.”

Leaked excerpts of the report, published by Argentinian press late yesterday/on Friday, say: “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."

The medical board is also said to have 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 also 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.”

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  • 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, are 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 and urine when he died but was suffering from major heart, liver and kidney problems.

    They also showed up 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.

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