A Cumberland County jury awarded a Bowdoinham man over $5 million in a negligence lawsuit against Brunswick’s Mid Coast Hospital on Friday.

Joshua Desjardins, 32, sued the hospital after a visit to the hospital’s walk-in clinic on Dec. 26, 2018, following an illness that had lasted for more than a week, according to Desjardins’ attorney Travis Brennan. Desjardins complained of a sore throat, shortness of breath, wheezing, a cough and chest pain, according to court documents.

Brennan said when the physician’s assistant took Desjardins’ vitals they were “grossly abnormal.” With an elevated heart rate, respiratory rate and fever, Brennan said he “met the criteria for someone who could be septic.”

Sepsis is an extreme response to infection in the body, most often starting in the lungs, and is life-threatening, according to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With a temperature of 103.1°F, a respiratory rate of 24 and a pulse rate of 130, Desjardins tested positive for influenza and was sent home to rest, take ibuprofen, Tylenol and cough medicine. The physician’s assistant told him to come back if his symptoms didn’t improve in the next 10 days, according to court records.

The symptoms persisted, and Desjardins went to the Mid Coast Hospital emergency room three days later. He was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia and severe sepsis. Shortly after being diagnosed, he went into respiratory distress and required a breathing tube, according to Brennan.

Because of the severity of his illness, Desjardins was air-lifted to Maine Medical Center in Portland. Desjardins suffered organ damage and was placed on life support for 31 days, according to court documents. While on life support, he suffered over 10 strokes caused by blood clots.


As his condition worsened, Brennan said Maine Medical staff prepared to transport Desjardins to another facility for a possible double lung transplant, but he “miraculously” recovered and was removed from life support.

In the lawsuit that followed, Desjardins alleged negligence and sought damages including medical expenses, past pain and suffering, emotional distress, decreased quality of life, future pain, and permanent deficits related to the brain damage he suffered as a result of multiple strokes.

“One issue highlighted in the trial was the real capabilities and limitations of walk-in clinics,” Brennan said. “In many ways, they provide a very important function when you can’t get an appointment to see your primary care provider. Those walk-in clinics are not staffed and not equipped to deal with any serious or life-threatening conditions.”

He said that despite their limitations, the most important function is “to identify those individuals whose conditions exceed the capabilities of the walk-in clinic and transfer them to the emergency department.”

Maine Health Partners distanced itself from the lawsuit in a statement Monday.

“The care at issue, in this case, was provided by an employee of BlueWater Emergency Partners, an independent physician practice that has a contract with Mid Coast–Parkview Health for the provision of medical services at the walk-in clinic where the care was provided,” the hospital wrote. “The incident took place in December 2018, prior to Mid Coast–Parkview Health becoming a part of MaineHealth on Jan. 1, 2021. The jury found that acts of BlueWater’s employee and the plaintiff were both contributors to the adverse medical outcome for Mr. Desjardins. Mid Coast Hospital was not found directly liable but was found vicariously liable based on the legal premise of apparent agency.”

“While we are disappointed in the verdict, BlueWater continues to stand behind the high quality of care from all of its providers at the Walk-in Clinic,” said Christopher C. Taintor, an attorney representing BlueWater. “BlueWater wishes Mr. Desjardins all the best in his recovery.”

Due to permanent lung damage and his inability to wear certain types of respirator masks, Desjardins was unable to return to work as a welder. Brennan said Desjardins now works as a carpenter for his father’s painting business.

Desjardins declined to speak with a reporter because speaking has been difficult since the strokes.

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