Northern Light hospital, physician ordered to pay $6.5M in wrongful death suit

Portland, Maine-based Northern Light Mercy Hospital and one of its physicians, John Henson, MD, has been ordered by a jury to pay $6.5 million to the parents of a man who died from Lyme disease, Bangor Daily News reported Feb. 2.

In 2017, Dr. Henson examined 25-year-old Peter Smith for rash, fever, chill, dizziness and a headache. Court documents stated that the emergency medicine specialist described one of Mr. Smith's lesions as having a target shape but noted there was no sign of Lyme disease.

Two weeks after the initial visit, Mr. Smith had another appointment Dr. Henson, who diagnosed him with a skin infection, according to the report. 

Days after that visit, Mr. Smith called for emergency assistance and was transported to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where physicians diagnosed him with Lyme disease and Lyme carditis, according to court documents. He died about a week later from the condition.

"Mercy Hospital extends its heartfelt sympathy to Mr. Smith's family and regrets the circumstances that occurred leading to his death. Mercy is in the process of evaluating next steps following the jury's verdict in this case," the hospital said in a statement.

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