A 50-year-old mother has died from severe malnutrition after doctors discovered an unborn ‘stone baby’ had remained lodged in her abdomen for the better part of a decade.
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 unborn foetus is found to have compressed her intestines causing a severe bowel obstruction and subsequent malnutrition.
This caused blockages, meaning her body was no longer able to absorb vital nutrients leading to starvation.
The patient reportedly 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.
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 has been recorded less than 300 times, with the first dating back to France in 1582.