A Bowdoinham man is suing Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick for alleged medical negligence stemming from a visit to the hospital’s walk-in clinic in 2018.

Joshua Desjardins, 30, went to the walk-in clinic on Dec. 26 after not feeling well for about nine days, according to his attorney, Travis Brennan. Desjardins had developed flu-like symptoms, had gotten better and then worse again, “which is one of the hallmarks of developing a secondary bacterial infection,” Brennan said.

Brennan said the clinic staff took Desjardin’s vital signs and found he had a fever, and high heart rate and respiration.

“Those vital signs should have been alarming to any of the providers there that Josh could be critically sick,” Brennan said. “His vital signs were very abnormal and suggestive that Josh could have been becoming septic, which is a life-threatening, critical condition that needs to be dealt with immediately.”

Brennan argued the walk-in clinic should have arranged to have Desjardins taken to an emergency room where he could be monitored, administered antibiotics and undergo laboratory tests to confirm what other issues he faced, such as issues with his organs.

After waiting for nearly three hours, Desjardins was seen by a health care provider who diagnosed Desjardins with the flu and told him to follow up if his condition didn’t improve over the course of the next 10 days, Brennan said.

Three days later, Desjardins went to the Mid Coast Hospital emergency room for trouble breathing and was diagnosed with multilobar pneumonia, an infection that caused his blood pressure to drop dangerously low, according to Brennan.

Desjardins was airlifted to Maine Medical Center in Portland and put on life support, Brennan said. He had numerous complications while at Maine Medical Center where he suffered cardiac arrest and had a prolonged hospitalization and recovery, according to Brennan. Desjardins was released Feb. 4, 2019.

Brennan argues that Desjardins’ experience points to broader system failures at the walk-in clinic. There was no policy or procedures requiring medical staff to recheck Desjardins’ abnormal vital signs even though Desjardins was at the clinic left unattended for close to three hours, which Brennan said raises a number of safety concerns.

Also named in the lawsuit is BlueWater Emergency Partners, LLC which contracts with Mid Coast Hospital to provide patient care at the hospital’s walk-in clinic at 22 Station Ave., in downtown Brunswick.

The lawsuit charges Mid Coast Hospital and BlueWater Emergency Partners with failures including not ordering diagnostic tests at the first visit and not having enough staff at the clinic. A legal answer filed by BlueWater refutes the allegations made in the lawsuit.

Desjardins was seen by BlueWater Emergency Partners staff member Allison Jankowski, who BlueWater agrees diagnosed Desjardins with the flu and recommended he treat his fever with ibuprofen and Tylenol and his cough with cough medicine.

However, BlueWater Emergency Partners argues that Jankowski was not negligent and that Desjardins refused a chest x-ray or to seek follow-up care as recommended when his condition worsened. BlueWater states that Jankowski advised Desjardins to seek further treatment if he didn’t improve within 24 to 48 hours; rather than 10 days as stated in Desjardins’ complaint.

BlueWater Emergency Partners also denies that Jankowski did not again take Desjardins’ vital signs or try to obtain laboratory work or try to transfer Desjardins to Mid Coast Hospital’s emergency department.

“There are lingering effects that Josh continues to deal with,” Brennan said, though he declined to elaborate. He declined to release the cost of Desjardin’s medical bills as of Wednesday.

“I think certainly the purpose of moving forward with this matter is two-fold,” Brennan said. “One is, Josh suffered tremendous harm as a result of what occurred here and those harms are on many different levels including medical expenses and other damages. But he also wants to ensure that something like this does not happen to anyone else and that’s another objective of moving forward with this suit.”

Both Mid Coast Hospital and BlueWater Emergency Partners representatives stated in separate email responses Wednesday that their organizations don’t comment on active litigation but deny the allegations made in the complaint and look forward to presenting the facts of the case to a jury.


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