Argentina's Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled out an appeal against a trial which will look into the alleged manslaughter of journalist Débora Pérez Volpin in a Buenos Aires private hospital in February 2018.
Endoscopist Diego Bialolenkier had requested the Supreme Court grant him probation as opposed to subjecting him to the trial, which will be a public trial.
Bialolenkier’s request, which the Court ruled against on Tuesday following two similar rulings by lower courts, had delayed the trial, which was originally scheduled for Monday June 10 and subsequently postponed until July 22.
The Eighth Oral Criminal Court, which is presiding over the trial, must now set a new start date.
Bialolenkier and anaesthesiologist Nélida Puente face charges of committing manslaughter during a routine endoscopy performed on Pérez Volpin in the Trinidad de Palermo private hospital on February 6, 2018.
The former journalist-cum-City legislator had been hospitalised the previous day with acute abdominal pain, which her doctors did not consider to be of major concern. Just two hours after Pérez Volpin entered the operating room, staff were signing her death certificate.
The autopsy on her body established that she had died from “the perforation of the thoracic oesophagus with an instrument, which later caused her to suffer cardiac arrest”.
If found guilty, Bialolenkierse and Puente face one to five years in prison and a five- to 10- year ban from working in their respective professions.
“Both had, in different moments (of the operation), a decisive role in the death of Débora. The autopsy supports this and shows the lesions she had in her body were from instruments and that her death was violent”, the lawyer representing Pérez Volpin’s family Diego Pirota said last month.
He argued that since Bialolenkierse was the only person to place an instrument inside the journalist’s body he was therefore responsible for the incident that ended her life.
For her part, anaesthesiologist Nélida Puente stands accused of not having previously connected Pérez Volpin to the heart rate monitor, which would have ensured staff could recognise the lesion at the moment it occurred; and for carrying out inefficient and incorrect manoeuvres to keep the patient alive.