The legal and medical fallout from the death of Diego Armando Maradona continued this week, with probes into the late football icon’s passing progressing.
Numerous toxicological studies were carried out, investigators said, with the focus on determining whether there was malpractice in the neglect of Maradona’s heart condition.
The lab tests as from midweek started with that organ, enlarged for the last two decades and weighing twice the normal size. Maradona’s blood and urine were also examined, as were swabs in order to determine what medication he was taking and in what doses. Experts are also searching to see whether there were traces of alcohol or some other substance abuse in the hours preceding his death.
The sporting legend’s excesses and addictions were the origin of multiple health emergencies, which had often taken him on the brink of death in recent years. Maradona overcame his addiction to hard drugs several years ago via rehab but his entourage warned that he continued to consume alcohol in combination with tranquilisers and anxiolytics.
It is not known to what extent the latter had been prescribed by doctors.
"Histopathological and toxicological tests (the former on his bowels following the autopsy) have commenced and will be followed by cell analysis and his clinical history until a full report is delivered to a medical board," Vadim Mischanchuk, a lawyer for Agustina Cosachov, Maradona’s psychiatrist, told the C5N news channel.
Cosachov and neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, Maradona’s personal doctor, have fallen under the judicial spotlight as the last professionals to attend the former Albiceleste captain. The possibility of involuntary homicide charges looms but there is still no indictment.
"You have to respect people. There’s a family in mourning. You have to take it step by step. You cannot stick somebody in front of a camera to say this or that happened, otherwise it would be a circus, disgraceful," warned Mischanchuk to defuse the anxiety for lab tests and analysis whose results will not be publicly disclosed.
The truth about Maradona’s health will only be known when the medical board designated by the prosecutor issues its opinion with no indication of how long that process will take.
The autopsy revealed that Maradona’s death on November 25 in a secluded Tigre residence was due to "an acute pulmonary oedema secondary to an acute chronic cardiac insufficiency with a dilated myocardium."
As occurred throughout a stormy love life, the media went looking for intimate details.
In one leaked chat message, Maradona’s eldest daughter Dalma told her sisters Gianinna and Jana: "I think we should go looking for a clinical GP," without questioning Luque or Cosachov but considering it indispensable to seek a doctor to coordinate the rest of Maradona’s care at home.
The 1986 World Cup champion had undergone an operation for a head clot on November 3. On his 60th birthday, four days previously, his poor physical condition and his difficulties speaking had been striking when he showed up in La Plata at the pitch of Gimnasia y Esgrima, the team he coached.
All the testimony given by those close to him agreed that he suffered from depression during eight months of confinement as a patient belonging to the risk groups of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fall week before death
Nurses further revealed that Maradona fell over in Tigre and hit his head a week before he died while recovering from his operation, without any medical studies being ordered to ascertain possible damage.
This was confirmed on Monday by the lawyer Mario Braudy, the current partner of Verónica Ojeda, the mother of Diego Fernando, the last child of Maradona’s to be recognised by the footballer.
Braudy dubbed the football star’s death "avoidable."
"The Monday before his death they called in Verónica because Diego was in bed and wanted to see her. At the San Andrés house, she found only his bodyguard and the weekend nurse, nobody else," said Braudy, who is legally representing the rights of Diego Fernando in the case.
In statements to the press, the lawyer aimed his fire directly against Luque, who on Monday spontaneously presented himself to the San Isidro prosecutors although he has yet to be formally indicted for involuntary homicide.
"I consider Luque a good person. I might have the best Ferrari in the world but if I give it to a five-year-old to drive, I’ve got a problem," said Braudy.