Northern Ireland

Jamie Dornan hospitalised in Portugal after coming into contact with ‘toxic caterpillars’

Jamie Dornan as Elliot Stanley
Jamie Dornan, who stars as Elliot Stanley in The Tourist, suffered 'heart attack' symptoms (Steffan Hill/BBC/Two Brothers/Steffan Hill)

Jamie Dornan was hospitalised in Portugal with suspected heart attack symptoms after coming into contact with “toxic caterpillars”.

The Co Down-born star (41) was on a golfing holiday with friends, including TV presenter Gordon Smart, when he became ill.

Dornan, who is currently starring in The Tourist, told of how his limbs went numb and he was taken to hospital.

Smart (43) also became unwell during the trip, suffering “tingling in his left hand and tickling in his left arm” and had a heart rate of 120 beats per minute.

Gordon Smart
Gordon Smart also took unwell during the trip with Jamie Dornan

Speaking on Scottish BBC panel show The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected, Smart recalled how they became unwell a day after they had been out on the golf course.

“We had a great time the first day, played loads of golf, went out, lots of wine was drunk and then we got on to espresso martinis”, he said.

“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’.”

Smart said he attended a local medical centre where the nurse found his resting heart rate to be extremely high. He took a taxi to hospital where he later collapsed.

He said he awoke to find himself attached to a machine with a doctor asking: “What have you been doing young man?”.

After being discharged, he returned to his hotel to find Dornan attached to medical equipment.

Jamie Dornan (Queen’s University Belfast)
Jamie Dornan

“Jamie said, ‘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’,” he said.

The Scottish host told of how around a week later, the doctor called him and said their symptoms may have been caused by toxic caterpillars.

“And it turns out that there are caterpillars on golf courses in the south of Portugal that have been killing people’s dogs and giving men in their 40s heart attacks,” he said.

“It turns out we’d brushed up against hairy processionary caterpillars and have been very lucky to come out of that one alive.”