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Lethal heart ailment diagnosed as lung infection

BOSTON — The family of a man whose lethal heart ailment was misdiagnosed as a lung infection has been awarded $4.8 million by a Suffolk County jury that determined a doctor was responsible for the death.

Jeffrey Kace went to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center complaining of a cough, fever, and chest pains in August 2006. During a short visit, the doctor diagnosed the 23-year-old man with bronchitis, prescribed antibiotics and painkillers, and sent him home.

Robert Higgins, the lawyer for Kace’s family, tells The Boston Globe that Kace was found dead in bed the next morning.

The medical examiner identified Kace’s cause of death as myocarditis, a virus that infects and inflames the heart muscle.

Neither the doctor nor his lawyer would comment. The doctor no longer works in Massachusetts.