I worked up a 22-year-old female who was experiencing abdominal pain. The barium enema revealed a loop of bowel around her pancreas, and her pancreatic enzymes were elevated. The surgeon I referred her to was ecstatic and said there were only a handful of known cases like this. He even invited me to assist the surgery, and I am sure was drooling at the thought of being published in a medical journal.

The patient was admitted and in the hours before surgery, I visited her. I was surprised to find her lying in the bed completely calm. She informed me that a friend had stood by her bedside earlier and told her everything was going to be all right.  The friend, who she saw as plain as day, had died three years before.  

When the patient’s abdomen was opened during surgery every organ was in place. There was no bowel looped around the pancreas and no abnormalities noted.  Follow-up pancreatic studies were normal.  When she was told what happened after recovering from anesthesia, she looked at me, smiled, and said, “I told you.”

Continue Reading

Tell us about your most memorable patient by December 15, 2010, and you’ll be eligible to win an Apple iPad!