Maine hospital ordered to pay $6.5 million for wrongful Lyme death
In 2017, 25-year-old Peter Smith, died of Lyme carditis in Portland, Maine.
Now, a jury has ordered the hospital and doctor that failed to recognize that he had Lyme disease to pay $6.3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.
But the award is expected to be reduced to $4 million because of a state law that caps loss-of-life damages.
Lyme carditis occurs when Lyme bacteria enter the tissues of the heart.
In June 2017, Smith was examined twice by Dr. John Henson at Mercy Hospital in Portland, for fever, chills, dizziness, headaches and a rash “that was slightly target-shaped.”
According to court documents, Henson wrote there was “no sign of Lyme disease” and diagnosed Smith with a basic viral illness and erythema multiforme, a skin disorder characterized by bull’s-eye-shaped lesions.
When Smith returned two weeks later, Henson again diagnosed him with a skin infection.
Five days later, Smith was taken by ambulance to a different Portland hospital. Physicians there immediately diagnosed him with Lyme disease and found it had invaded his heart. Smith was treated and released but died July 2, 2017.
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