A nurse accused of neglecting Diego Maradona during the last days of his life will tell prosecutors the football icon wouldn’t let her check up on him, her lawyer said on Wednesday.
Dahiana Gisela Madrid, 36, is one of seven people under investigation for manslaughter after a board of experts looking into Maradona’s death found he had received inadequate care and was abandoned to his fate for a “prolonged, agonizing period”.
The football legend died of a heart attack last November at the age of 60, just weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot.
Arriving at the public prosecutor’s office in San Isidro, on the outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires, Madrid’s lawyer said his client would repeat what she has already told investigators, that she was merely following orders.
“Madrid was following the indications of the treating doctors,” Rodolfo Baque told reporters.
“All of Maradona’s entourage knew that she wasn’t allowed to check on him because he’d barred her just like he’d done with the other therapeutic assistants.”
Madrid was Maradona’s daytime nurse and one of the last people to see him alive.
An investigation was opened following a complaint filed by two of Maradona’s five children against neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, whom they blame for their father’s deteriorating condition after the brain operation.
A panel of 20 medical experts convened by Argentina’s public prosecutor said last month that Maradona’s treatment was rife with “deficiencies and irregularities” and the medical team had left his survival “to fate.”
If found guilty, the seven, who are barred from leaving the country, could face between eight and 25 years in prison.
– Conflicting stories –
Madrid was one of the people to have found Maradona with no signs of life and had tried to revive him, she said in a previous witness statement.
She also said that when arriving for her shift, she had not performed a routine check on Maradona as she wanted to leave him to rest.
A written report then emerged in which Madrid claimed to have tried to check on Maradona but the World Cup winning captain had turned her away.
The nurse later admitted that was a lie and said her boss, Mariano Perroni, who is also under investigation, had asked her to fabricate the report.
Buque downplayed the conflicting stories already proffered by his client.
“The report was filled out at the end of the work shift, the supervisor told her to fill it in and she wrote that the patient refused to let her conduct the checkup,” said Buque.
“She was banned from carrying out tests, she was only ordered and authorized to supply him with the psychiatric medicine that showed up on the autopsy.”
On Monday, Maradona’s nighttime nurse Ricardo Almiron, 37, was the first of the seven to be questioned by prosecutors.
He claimed to have been “told by his superiors not to disturb the patient,” Almiron’s lawyer Franco Chiarelli told reporters on Monday.
Nursing coordinator Perroni, 40, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, 35, psychologist Carlos Diaz, 29, medical coordinator Nancy Forlini, 52, and Luque are to be questioned by prosecutors over the next two weeks.
A judge will decide whether the matter should go to trial in a process expected to last months, or even years.
Baque said he would be asking prosecutors to dismiss the accusations against Madrid.
“It is wrong to accuse her of murder. I understand that the other (suspects) need to give explanations, but in the case of my client, that’s a mistake,” said Baque.
– Addictions –
Maradona had battled cocaine and alcohol addiction.
The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he died.
Maradona is an idol to millions of Argentines after he inspired the South American country to only their second World Cup triumph in 1986.
His death shocked fans around the world, and tens of thousands queued to file past his coffin, draped in the Argentine flag, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires amid three days of national mourning.