BOSTON -- Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis completed another series of cardiac-related tests at Brigham and Women's Hospital yesterday and released his first public statement since learning of the serious heart condition that could mean the end of his professional basketball career.
Apparently upset with public comments from team officials con- cerning his decision to switch his care from New England Baptist Hospital to Brigham and Women's late Sunday night, Lewis and his wife Donna Harris Lewis issued a joint statement through agent Peter Roisman that said, in part, "To set the record straight, and contrary to some published reports, Reggie and Donna are quite cognizant of the seriousness of the initial diagnosis they were given. Reggie and his wife decided to transfer Reggie here, to Brigham and Women's Hospital, in order to seek a second opinion and to participate directly in his care."
In Tuesday's Boston Globe, team physician Arnold Scheller was quoted as saying, "Reggie's being told that he has a major medical problem. That's a loss of your potential work, your career. Whenever you have a loss, whether it's an injury, or someone dies in your family, you go through that phase of denial, you go through a phase of anger, and gradually you learn to accept it."
That was one of the comments, particularly the mention of "denial," that prompted Lewis and his wife to release the statement, sources said.
Sources said the reason Lewis decided to transfer was that his wife was not included in discussions about his condition and care among team officials and 12 specialists Sunday.
"That's why you're seeing that 'participate directly in his care' part in the statement," said a source. "Both Reggie and Donna were really upset at how that was handled. This is Reggie's life you are talking about."
Harris Lewis worked briefly at Brigham and Women's Hospital, which is known for its cardiac care. According to a hospital statement, Lewis will continue to undergo tests for "the next several days."
In the statement, Lewis and his wife reported he was "resting comfortably."
The statement continued, "We have received full cooperation from the doctors at New England Baptist and truly appreciate all that they and the Celtics have done for us."