A 50-year-old woman died from severe malnutrition after carrying an unborn fetus inside her body for nine years.
According to reports, she visited doctors in New York complaining of indigestion, stomach cramps, and gurgling sounds after eating.
Scans then revealed that she had a calcified fetus or ‘stone baby,’ which compressed her intestines and caused blockages.
The extremely rare condition happens when a fetus developing outside the womb dies and is not removed from the body.
However, the woman – who was originally from Congo – refused treatment as she believed that her condition was caused by someone who cast a ‘spell’ on her.
“I will let you know when I am ready,” she told the doctors after refusing surgery to remove the mass. “I am not scared of death.”
Only 14 months after arriving in the US, she passed away from severe malnutrition.
In such cases, death may be caused by tissue degradation and result in cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac arrest. Other causes include an infection.
For the woman, the calcified fetus kept compressing her intestines and caused blockages, preventing her from absorbing vital nutrients.
Dr. Waseem Sous, an internal medicine expert at SUNY Upstate Medical Universty, said the woman ‘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 stopped developing inside the woman at 28 weeks. She suffered lithopedion, a condition that occurs when pregnancy forms in the abdomen instead of the uterus.
The condition is ectopic pregnancy, a term for all pregnancies where the embryo develops in the wrong part of the body.
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