Woman Dies From Severe Malnutrition After Unborn Fetus Got Lodged In Her abdomen For Nine Years
A mother died from severe malnutrition after carrying an unborn fetus for around nine years inside her body.
The woman, originally from the Congo, visited doctors in New York complaining of stomach cramps, indigestion and a gurgling sound after eating.
Scans revealed the 50-year-old had a ‘stone baby’ — a calcified fetus — compressed her intestines, which was attributed to a miscarriage nine years prior.
The rare phenomenon, which has only been recorded fewer than 300 times, occurs when a fetus that is developing outside the womb dies during pregnancy and is not released from the body. It is among many pregnancy complications that have severe longterm impacts on a mother’s health.
The patient refused treatment, saying she believed her health condition was related to a ‘spell’ that someone cast on her in Africa.
The woman died 14 months after arriving in the United States.
Doctors said she died from severe malnutrition, or starvation.
In these cases, death may eventually be caused by tissue degradation leading to cardiac arrest or cardiac arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat. Other causes include an infection, brought on by a weakened immune system.
For this woman, the ‘stone baby’ kept compressing the intestine. This caused blockages, meaning her body was no longer able to absorb vital nutrients — leading to starvation.
Dr Waseem Sous, an internal medicine expert at SUNY Upstate Medical University who reported the case, said the patient ‘declined intervention due to fear of surgery and elected for symptom monitoring.’
Unfortunately, she passed away due to severe malnutrition in the context of recurrent bowel obstruction due to the lithopedion and continued fear of seeking medical care.’
The fetus — which would have been the woman’s ninth child — stopped developing inside her at 28 weeks.
But instead of miscarrying, she suffered the condition known as lithopedion.
The condition occurs when pregnancy forms in the abdomen instead of the uterus.
It is an ectopic pregnancy, a term for all pregnancies where the embryo begins to form in the wrong part of the body.
In cases of lithopedion, not enough blood supply reaches the baby, causing the pregnancy to fail.
The body cannot expel the fetus either, leading to potentially deadly complications.