Fatality Caused by Self-Bloodletting in a Patient with Factitious Anemia
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Death by bloodletting among patients with factitious anemia has never been reported to our knowledge.We report the first known case. A 25-year-old woman with severe iron deficiency anemia confessed her habit of bloodletting at her first visit to our hospital, in March 1998.We prescribed oral iron and referred her to a psychiatrist.The diagnosis was borderline personality disorder. The psychiatrist began counseling the patient and prescribed a major tranquilizer. The patient’s method of bloodletting was to insert an 18-gauge needle without syringe into her vein after inducing congestion in her arm. This method was considered to involve risk of death, because once the patient fell into a faint caused by blood loss, the bloodletting could not be stopped. Although we attempted to persuade the patient to stop bloodletting by this method, she died after self-bloodletting in September 1999. It is not known whether the death was intentional suicide or an accident.
Key wordsBorderline personality disorder
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