Health

Doctors must ask probing questions

Dr. Erika Kube

People with an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia, may have a distorted perception of what they actually look like.

Anna came to the emergency department with her boyfriend. She had been having abdominal pain with vomiting and constipation for several days.

She was carrying a small bucket that she had brought from home and was dry-heaving into it as the triage nurse assisted her into a wheelchair and helped her to her room in the department. Her boyfriend of hers said she frequently complained of abdominal pain, but this time seemed much worse.

What I first noticed about Anna was that she was quite thin and looked very withdrawn. It was clear she did not feel well but she really would not make eye contact with the nurse or me and she let her boyfriend speak for her. He seemed worried about her as he held her hand and rubbed her back.

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