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Reggie Lewis' doctor defends self



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BOSTON, June 8 (UPI) _ Dr. Gilbert Mudge, the lead cardiologist being sued in the 1993 death of Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis, has taken the stand in his own defense at his medical malpractice trial in Boston.

Mudge again raised the possibility that cocaine might have damaged the professional basketball player's heart.

"I was puzzled," Mudge said after reviewing test results on Lewis's heart after the athlete collapsed during a playoff game in 1993.

Mudge said the inconsistent tests results made him consider cocaine as a cause.

He said the heart damage was "consistent" with cocaine use.

Lewis's widow, Donna Harris-Lewis, has denied her husband used cocaine, but Mudge previously said Lewis admitted to him in the weeks before he died that he indeed had used the drug.

Mudge also testified about how Lewis came to him in 1993 seeking a second opinion after the Celtics' "Dream Team" of doctors said he had a potentially fatal heart ailment that threatened his playing career.

Harris-Lewis accused Mudge and two consultants of misdiagnosing her husband's heart ailment as a benign fainting disorder.

Lewis died three months later while shooting baskets at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. He was 27.

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