Jamie Dornan rushed to hospital after collapsing from ‘suspected heart-attack’ following brush with ‘toxic’ caterpillars

24 January 2024, 09:47 | Updated: 24 January 2024, 09:51

The actor was rushed to hospital while on holiday with friends.
The actor was rushed to hospital while on holiday with friends. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The actor is ‘lucky to be alive’ after he had an encounter with ‘toxic’ caterpillars in Portugal.

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The Tourist actor, 41, was on holiday in Portugal with some friends when the incident occurred.

They had been playing on a golfing resort while they were away, when Dornan and his pal Gordon Smart, 43, began experiencing symptoms of a heart attack.

Medics eventually sent Smart to hospital, and Dornan followed closely behind as he collapsed soon after his friend had been rushed away,

“It turns out we’d brushed up against hairy processionary caterpillars and have been very lucky to come out of that one alive," Smart told The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected.

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Dornan is 'lucky to be alive' after the encounter.
Dornan is 'lucky to be alive' after the encounter. Picture: Getty

"Anyway, the next day, we played golf, we were all absolutely dreadful and I started to feel tingling in my left hand and then tickling in my left arm. I’m the son of a GP and thought, 'This is normally the sign of the start of a heart attack’,” he said.

“Now, I’m a fairly healthy guy but once you start thinking, you’re having a heart attack, you’re pretty sure that you’re convincing yourself that you are having one.”

Smart later woke up in a hospital bed where he was questioned by doctors about their alcohol consumption the night before.

After ruling out alcohol as a potential cause, doctors concluded caterpillars were the likely cause of the symptoms.

When the pair eventually got back to their holiday home, Smart said Jamie told him: "Dear me. Gordon, about 20 minutes after you left, my left arm went numb, my left leg went numb, my right leg went numb, and I found myself in the back of an ambulance."

Portuguese medics later got in touch with them to say processionary caterpillars had been suspected of killing dogs in the area.

Smart said they were “very lucky to come out of it alive” and that brushing up against hairy caterpillars on the golf course was the likely reason for their conditions.