Judge Dismisses Reggie Lewis Case

Tuesday, July 18th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) — The malpractice case stemming from the 1993 death of Reggie Lewis finally ended when a judge dismissed an appeal by the wife of the former Boston Celtics captain.

Donna Lewis-Harris missed a filing deadline to continue her appeal of the May jury verdict that cleared Dr. Gilbert Mudge Jr. of negligence.

Judge Thayer Fremont-Smith granted a request Monday by Mudge's lawyer to dismiss the appeal, and Lewis-Harris's lawyer offered no opposition.

Fremont-Smith's ruling came 10 days shy of the seventh anniversary of Lewis's death. He collapsed while shooting baskets at a Brandeis gym.

Harris-Lewis accused Mudge, Lewis' chief cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, of failing to diagnose her husband with the heart condition the led to his death.

A first trial ended last year in a hung jury.

Reached at his office Monday, Neil Rossman, the widow's lawyer, told The Boston Globe he had no comment. Mudge's lawyer, William Dailey Jr. did not return the Globe's phone call.

Last May, Rossman filed a notice of appeal, a required first step toward the state Appeals Court. The next step would have been for Rossman to order a transcript of the trial, which ended May 8 after four weeks of testimony.

Lewis was 27 when he first collapsed during an NBA playoff game on April 29, 1993. After a ``dream team'' of doctors diagnosed him with a potentially fatal heart problem, he walked out of New England Baptist Hospital and transferred care to Mudge.

The cardiologist said Lewis had a ``normal athlete's heart,'' and diagnosed a benign fainting disorder. Two months later, Lewis dropped dead.