71-Year-Old Woman Who Says She Is Dead

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A psychiatrist from Spain was involved in a case where an elderly woman experienced a startling deterioration in spirit, activity, and health. Read about her symptoms and then login to SERMO to offer your insights.

A 71-year-old woman came to the emergency department accompanied by her two children. No relevant medical history. She does not take medication or treatments regularly. Widow for 4 years. She lived alone until about two months ago, when a daughter took her home to care for her. In total, two adult children. Until three months ago she was independent in activities of daily living: she went out daily, doing the shopping, properly handled the money, cooking. She went twice a week to tai-chi and had a group of friends with whom she met once a week for coffee.

Now in the last few months, she’s abandoned her usual activities. She stopped bathing. Progressively has been losing appetite, and in these 3 months has lost about 6 kg, but remains with a normal BMI (previously was overweight). In the last week, in addition to memory complaints and cognitive clumsiness, she has begun saying that she has “a hole” in the stomach. She cannot eat solid, so has only been fed liquids and some yogurt or purée.

She has hardly spoken in these three days, from in the little she has said, she has asked her daughter for the date of her own funeral.

Are you a physician? Login or join SERMO to continue reading and offer your opinion on what could be wrong with this patient.

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