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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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To: MeekOneGOP
...That shook when he laughed
Like a bowel full of shillings
21 posted on 02/18/2004 7:14:31 PM PST by small voice in the wilderness (1)
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To: MeekOneGOP
The first human piggy bank!
22 posted on 02/18/2004 7:15:54 PM PST by Arpege92
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To: MeekOneGOP
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.

His second mistake was walking inbto s french hospital.

23 posted on 02/18/2004 7:19:41 PM PST by SAMWolf (Terrorists are vulnerable to silver bullets... and any other bullets.)
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To: SAMWolf
"His second mistake was walking into a french hospital."

Ouch...LOL
24 posted on 02/18/2004 7:20:34 PM PST by Arpege92
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To: martin_fierro
The patient's rare condition is called pica. . . .

Latin for "perky":


25 posted on 02/18/2004 7:23:20 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Extra-Couricular Activity.)
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To: MeekOneGOP
. . . doctors cut him open and removed his badly damaged stomach. . . .

They also had to take out his Gall bladder.

26 posted on 02/18/2004 7:31:46 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Pica de Gaulle?)
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To: MeekOneGOP
666 readers in 73 countries

666 eh? must have been possessed -
27 posted on 02/18/2004 7:34:10 PM PST by H2dude
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To: cyborg
Coinstipation can be brutal.
28 posted on 02/18/2004 7:35:37 PM PST by small voice in the wilderness (1)
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To: small voice in the wilderness
I'll say
29 posted on 02/18/2004 7:36:23 PM PST by cyborg
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To: MeekOneGOP
If he swolled a bunch of Euro coins then he is lucky to be alive.
Euro coins have an extremely high nickel content and if a large amount of nickel is ingested it could kill you.

The old copper US penny was 92% copper and fairly safe if swollowed, but the new penny is 98% zinc and could poison you if swollowed.
30 posted on 02/18/2004 7:36:33 PM PST by Chewbacca ("Turn off your machines! Walk off your jobs! Power to the People!" - The Ice Pirates)
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To: MeekOneGOP
. . . doctors cut him open. . . .

Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.

31 posted on 02/18/2004 7:37:55 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Veni, Vidi, Vicki: "I came, I saw, and I'm like, Omigod!")
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To: BunnySlippers
Geez! That X-ray is scary. No wonder many of the docs couldn't figure out it was his stomach . . . you can see almost the entire pelvis ABOVE it . . . I'm surprised his esophagus didn't rupture and "badly damaged" is probably an understatement. Look at all those nails and hairpins, too.

Another famous case of pica:

Henry King, Who chewed bits of String, and was cut off in Dreadful Agonies.

The Chief Defect of Henry King
Was chewing little bits of String.
At last he swallowed some which tied
Itself in ugly Knots inside.
Physicians of the Utmost Fame
Were called at once; but when they came
They answered as they took their Fees,
“There is no Cure for this Disease.
Henry will soon be dead.”
His Parents stood about his Bed
Lamenting his Untimely Death,
When Henry, with his Latest Breath,
Cried-
“Oh, my Friends, be warned by me,
That Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch and Tea
Are all the Human Frame requires . . .”
With that the Wretched Child expires.

- Hillaire Belloc, Cautionary Verses

32 posted on 02/18/2004 7:50:38 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . sed, ut scis, quis homines huiusmodi intellegere potest?. . .)
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To: AnAmericanMother
Hey, someone likes to read the same stuff I do!

33 posted on 02/18/2004 7:54:36 PM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: hedgetrimmer
Just about anybody who has a chance to read Belloc in full cry likes him.

I discovered him at about age 7, when a summer camp counselor read the "Cautionary Verses" aloud, with feeling, to us during nap time. Enjoyed him ever since.

My favorite is probably "Matilda, Who Told Lies and Was Burned to Death" although "Rebecca, Who Slammed Doors For Fun and Perished Miserably" is running a close second.

34 posted on 02/18/2004 7:58:18 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . sed, ut scis, quis homines huiusmodi intellegere potest?. . .)
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To: MeekOneGOP
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.

Could those "complications" have been starvation? Hmmm...

35 posted on 02/18/2004 8:12:29 PM PST by BykrBayb (Temporary tagline. Applied to State of New Jersey for permanent tagline (12/24/03).)
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To: BykrBayb
It could well be the French medical system. In fact, I suspect they are responsible for Princess Diana's death. They, unlike the US medical system, insist on stabilizing the patient on the spot ... BEFORE transfering to the hospital. So the medical techs park the ambulance on the side of the road ... in the US the patient is rushed to the hospital.
36 posted on 02/18/2004 8:59:45 PM PST by BunnySlippers (a href="http://www.michaelmoore.com" target="_blank">miserable failure)
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To: MeekOneGOP
"Dammit, Jim; I'm a doctor, not a numismatist!"
37 posted on 02/18/2004 9:01:46 PM PST by NewRomeTacitus
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To: MeekOneGOP
Socialist French politicians will no doubt seize upon this tragic case, citing the loss of French currency exchange due to this man as the reason for French economic stagnation.
38 posted on 02/18/2004 9:12:05 PM PST by MCH
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To: H2dude
hehe !

39 posted on 02/19/2004 2:53:19 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (The Democrats believe in CHOICE. I have chosen to vote STRAIGHT TICKET GOP for years !!)
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To: MeekOneGOP
its bushes fault!
40 posted on 02/19/2004 2:55:41 AM PST by rrrod
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To: Chewbacca
Well, he did die, but it was 12 days after the surgery to remove the coins.

The old copper US penny was 92% copper and fairly safe if swollowed,
but the new penny is 98% zinc and could poison you if swollowed.

I didn't know they had changed the U.S. penny. What year, do you know ?


41 posted on 02/19/2004 2:55:56 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (The Democrats believe in CHOICE. I have chosen to vote STRAIGHT TICKET GOP for years !!)
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To: MeekOneGOP
My dream is to eat nickles and crap quarters.
42 posted on 02/19/2004 2:57:25 AM PST by Bluntpoint
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To: NewRomeTacitus
LOL !

43 posted on 02/19/2004 2:57:45 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (The Democrats believe in CHOICE. I have chosen to vote STRAIGHT TICKET GOP for years !!)
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To: MCH
It's Bush's fault !

44 posted on 02/19/2004 2:58:24 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (The Democrats believe in CHOICE. I have chosen to vote STRAIGHT TICKET GOP for years !!)
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To: MeekOneGOP; dighton; aculeus; general_re; BlueLancer; Constitution Day; Simcha7; L,TOWM; ...
In a previous life he was a "broken" vending machine.
45 posted on 02/19/2004 3:05:26 AM PST by Thinkin' Gal
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To: MeekOneGOP
A friend of mine is an emergency room surgeon. Every time I see him, he has a new story for me, particularly surrounding the constant stream of people who have to have objects removed from various orifices.

The last one was a guy who came in with abdominal pain. Turns out he was swallowing Barbie heads. No lie.

He said they felt good when he passed them, "y'know, with the hair and all."

I am not making this up.
46 posted on 02/19/2004 3:06:35 AM PST by ovrtaxt (I'll start watching NASCAR when they start running figure 8s.)
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To: MeekOneGOP
Well, he's dead now, right?

String him up on a tree and use him for a pinata!!!!

47 posted on 02/19/2004 3:08:33 AM PST by Lazamataz (I believe whatever the last poster tells me.)
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To: Chewbacca
The old copper US penny was 92% copper and fairly safe if swollowed, but the new penny is 98% zinc and could poison you if swollowed.

True. But if you save those pennies, you can buy a dictionary and look up the spelling of the word "SWALLOWED". ;^)

48 posted on 02/19/2004 3:10:35 AM PST by Lazamataz (I believe whatever the last poster tells me.)
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To: cyborg
A few tablespoons of castor oil will take care of that.

That's evil.

But not as evil as my pinata comment. >:^)

49 posted on 02/19/2004 3:13:48 AM PST by Lazamataz (I believe whatever the last poster tells me.)
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To: Chewbacca
"If he swolled a bunch of Euro coins then he is lucky to be alive"

He must have since he's dead.

LOL.
50 posted on 02/19/2004 3:25:03 AM PST by wolficatZ (___><))))*>____)
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