A woman died of acute malnutrition after it was discovered that she had a disease called “stone child”, which left her with a bowel obstruction.
Doctors have described a rare case of a 50-year-old Congolese woman who carried a “calcified fetus” or “petrified fetus” (lithopedion), or, as it is also called, a “stone child” in her body. for nine years.
A “stone baby” is defined as a rare occurrence starting at 14 weeks gestation when the fetus dies during abdominal pregnancy and becomes too large to be reabsorbed by the body, and thus calcifies externally as part of a strange reaction that protects the body. mother from dead tissue of the fetus and preventing infection.
An unnamed refugee who recently arrived in the US went to the hospital complaining of stomach cramps, indigestion and a gurgling sensation after eating.
An x-ray soon showed a stillborn 28-week-old fetus lodged in the lower abdomen, which was pressing on the intestines.
However, the woman refused the operation to remove the neoplasm.
In an article for Medical Case Reports, doctors said the patient believes her condition is due to a “spell” someone cast on her in Tanzania.
Nine years ago, when she first realized she had lost her baby, doctors at the refugee camp accused her mother of “atrocities”, “murdering her child” and “using drugs”.
This made her afraid of doctors and she has been refusing treatment ever since.
The woman assured the US medical team that she would “let them know when she is ready for surgery and is not afraid of death.”
But just 14 months later, she died of malnutrition after the fetus prevented her intestines from absorbing vital nutrients.
Doctors said the case highlighted the negative impact of “mistrust in medicine” and the need for a better model of care “to bridge the gap between the healthcare team and the newly resettled refugees.”
They also urged doctors to “get more knowledge about this rare disease.”
According to a 1996 article published in the Journal of the Royal Society of medicine, there are only 290 cases of “calcified fetus” in the medical literature, the oldest of which was the case of a 68-year-old French woman, Ms. Colomb-Chatrie.
Her body was opened after her death in 1582 and it was found that she was carrying a fully developed petrified child in her abdomen.
Chhatri, whose stomach is said to have been “swollen, hard and painful all her life”, carried her stone child for 28 years.
In 2009, doctors removed a calcified fetus from a 92-year-old Chinese woman named Huang Yijun, which she had been carrying for more than half a century.
In 2013, an elderly Colombian woman was shocked when she went to the doctor with pelvic pain and was told the pain was caused by a 40-year-old “stone child”.
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