Singing the Bite Me Song


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February 18, 2004

Hundreds of coins found in patient's belly

By JEFF DONN
Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) -- 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.

[...]

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.

February 18, 2004 at 05:31 PM in Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack