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23.08.2019 | Case Report | Ausgabe 4/2019

Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology 4/2019

A complicated case of bowel obstruction with sepsis and methamphetamine toxicity in a child with pica

Zeitschrift:
Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology > Ausgabe 4/2019
Autoren:
Christine Stevens, Erinn Ton, Prentiss Jones, Brandy Shattuck
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Abstract

In this report, a pediatric case of bowel obstruction with sepsis complicated by methamphetamine toxicity is described. The decedent, an eleven-year-old female with a clinical history of pica, was found unresponsive in her home and pronounced dead following unsuccessful resuscitative efforts. Radiologic imaging showed multiple radio-opaque foreign objects in the stomach and bowel. Autopsy revealed a green leafy substance, coins and other metallic items, folded paper, and plastic in her stomach and bowels. Postmortem iliac blood and urine tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine. While the decedent’s medical history and autopsy findings provided evidence consistent with bowel obstruction with sepsis due to the ingestion of foreign materials, the high methamphetamine concentration was suggestive of concurrent methamphetamine toxicity. Unique complications associated with this case include the phenomenon that methamphetamine toxicity and bowel obstruction can present similarly in children and the reported opinion that accidental drug ingestion is uncommon in children over the age of five. This case emphasizes that the age range for suspected accidental drug ingestion should be expanded for those with pica, as these patients, despite being older, may not be able to differentiate between what they should and should not ingest. Furthermore, when treating a pediatric patient with pica that appears to present with bowel obstruction, unintentional drug ingestion should also be considered, particularly if there is a suspicion that the child lives in a household where drugs are abused, given the prospect that drug toxicity can present similarly.

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