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Hundreds of coins found in patient's belly
Associated Press ^ | February 18, 2004 | Associated Press Staff

Posted on 02/18/2004 6:37:44 PM PST by MeekOneGOP


Hundreds of coins found in patient's belly

07:26 PM CST on Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Associated Press

BOSTON – French doctors were taken aback when they discovered the reason for a patient's sore, swollen belly: He had swallowed around 350 coins – $650 worth – along with assorted necklaces and needles.

The 62-year-old man came to the emergency room of Cholet General Hospital in western France in 2002. He had a history of major psychiatric illness, was suffering from stomach pain, and could not eat or move his bowels.

His family warned doctors that he sometimes swallowed coins, and a few had been removed from his stomach in past hospital visits.

Still, doctors were awed when they took an X-ray. They discovered an enormous opaque mass in his stomach that turned out to weigh 12 pounds – as much as some bowling balls. It was so heavy it had forced his stomach down between his hips.

Five days after his arrival, doctors cut him open and removed his badly damaged stomach with its contents. He died 12 days later from complications.

One of his doctors, intensive care specialist Dr. Bruno Francois, said the patient had swallowed the coins – both French currency and later euros – over about a decade. His family tried to keep coins and jewelry away from him.

"When he was invited and came in some homes, he liked to steal coins and eat them," Francois said.

The case history of the French patient, whose name was withheld, was reported in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

The patient's rare condition is called pica, a compulsion to eat things not normally consumed as food. Its name comes from the Latin word for magpie, a bird thought to eat just about anything.

Pica can take the form of eating dirt, ashes, chalk, hair, soap, toothbrushes, burned matches and many other things. Francois once treated a patient who ate forks. Most such objects are small enough to pass on their own, but some must be removed by doctors.

The condition is perhaps best known in children and pregnant women but is also sometimes linked to psychiatric illness.

A few details of the Frenchman's case were presented Jan. 1 along with the X-ray – but no explanation of the stomach mass – as a challenge to New England Journal of Medicine readers in a fixture called "A Medical Mystery."

Dr. Lindsey Baden, an editor at the journal, reported that 666 readers in 73 countries – mostly doctors or doctors-in-training – contacted the journal to try to solve the mystery. Almost 90 percent settled on diagnoses consistent with pica, but only 8 percent correctly identified coins.

"This case serves as a reminder of important factors that should be considered in the care of patients who are mentally impaired," Baden wrote.


Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/021804dnnatcoineater.a89c8.html


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: coins; disorders; france; massachusetts; pica
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1 posted on 02/18/2004 6:37:45 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeekOneGOP; jriemer
We'll take 'em! Jriemer, know any banks that convert money? ^_^
2 posted on 02/18/2004 6:40:33 PM PST by 4mycountry (If new people are newbies.... does that make me an oldbie?)
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To: MeekOneGOP

An X-Ray, made of the stomach of a 62-year-old man who came to the emergency room of Cholet General Hospital in western France in 2002. He had a history of major psychiatric illness, was suffering from stomach pain, and could not eat or move his bowels. Doctors discovered an enormous opaque mass in his stomach that turned out to weigh 12 pounds, as much as some bowling balls. The patient had swallowed around 350 coins, along with assorted necklaces and needles. (AP Photo/photo released by The New Engand Journal of Medicina)

3 posted on 02/18/2004 6:42:50 PM PST by BunnySlippers (a href="http://www.michaelmoore.com" target="_blank">miserable failure)
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To: BunnySlippers
Man. What a mess, huh ?
Thanks for the pic !

4 posted on 02/18/2004 6:44:44 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (The Democrats believe in CHOICE. I have chosen to vote STRAIGHT TICKET GOP for years !!)
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To: MeekOneGOP
"This case serves as a reminder of important factors that should be considered in the care of patients who are mentally impaired," Baden wrote.

Indeed.

5 posted on 02/18/2004 6:46:56 PM PST by BfloGuy (The past is like a different country, they do things different there.)
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To: MeekOneGOP; Charles Henrickson; Constitution Day; Tijeras_Slim
Change is Good.
6 posted on 02/18/2004 6:50:51 PM PST by martin_fierro (I miss the Media Schadenfreude Ping)
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To: mhking
It goes without saying...
7 posted on 02/18/2004 6:53:30 PM PST by jocon307 (The dems don't get it, the American people do.)
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To: MeekOneGOP
The condition ... is also sometimes linked to psychiatric illness.

Here it coin-cided with mental illness.

8 posted on 02/18/2004 6:54:09 PM PST by martin_fierro (Money for nothing)
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To: MeekOneGOP
A few tablespoons of castor oil will take care of that.
9 posted on 02/18/2004 6:57:43 PM PST by cyborg
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To: MeekOneGOP
A penny for your thoughts?
10 posted on 02/18/2004 6:59:02 PM PST by Kirkwood
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To: martin_fierro
LOL !

11 posted on 02/18/2004 6:59:02 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (The Democrats believe in CHOICE. I have chosen to vote STRAIGHT TICKET GOP for years !!)
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To: MeekOneGOP
"hey buddy, got change for a quarter?...eeewwww! nevermind!"
12 posted on 02/18/2004 7:01:00 PM PST by RckyRaCoCo (todo su país es pertenece a nosotros)
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To: MeekOneGOP
Somehow this makes me feel soooo much better about my own mental health.

That guy is certifiably whack!

13 posted on 02/18/2004 7:01:29 PM PST by LibKill (My sigil: Two crossed, dead, Frenchmen emblazoned on a mound of dead Frenchmen.)
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To: cyborg; Kirkwood; martin_fierro; yall

He's dead, Jim.


14 posted on 02/18/2004 7:02:13 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (The Democrats believe in CHOICE. I have chosen to vote STRAIGHT TICKET GOP for years !!)
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To: MeekOneGOP
Since his family is French, they should sou.
15 posted on 02/18/2004 7:03:19 PM PST by spald
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To: 4mycountry
wow. a french patient who actually paid his doctors.... although he did die.
16 posted on 02/18/2004 7:04:42 PM PST by GeronL (http://www.ArmorforCongress.com..............................send a FReeper to Congress!)
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To: BunnySlippers
It was so heavy it had forced his stomach down between his hips.

YIKES!!!!

17 posted on 02/18/2004 7:05:23 PM PST by GeronL (http://www.ArmorforCongress.com..............................send a FReeper to Congress!)
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To: GeronL
I'll bet he made a lot of noise when he rolled over in bed at night. Lucky he never got caught on a hill ... a lot of momentum.
18 posted on 02/18/2004 7:07:15 PM PST by BunnySlippers (a href="http://www.michaelmoore.com" target="_blank">miserable failure)
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To: MeekOneGOP
The patient's rare condition is called pica, a compulsion to eat things not normally consumed as food. Its name comes from the Latin word for magpie, a bird thought to eat just about anything.

this is rather politically humorous. I'm laughing too hard to comment.

19 posted on 02/18/2004 7:12:20 PM PST by Focault's Pendulum (The Sixties song/mantra....Where Have All The Flowers Gone?.....low carb dieters living large.)
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To: BunnySlippers
did he make jingle noises when he walked.... waddled?
20 posted on 02/18/2004 7:12:57 PM PST by GeronL (http://www.ArmorforCongress.com..............................send a FReeper to Congress!)
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