Intended for healthcare professionals


A neglected but prevalent tragedy

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 05 June 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1526
  1. Fadel Diadhiou,
  2. Nathalie Goyaux,
  3. Ousseynou Faye,
  4. Patrick Thonneau
  1. department of gynaecology and obstetrics, University Hospital Le Dantac, Dakar, Senegal

    Aminata, aged 24, was admitted as an emergency suffering from fever and severe pelvic pain in February 1998. Medical examination showed signs of peritonitis and foetid leucorrhoea. She told the doctor that she had had an illegal abortion after 12 weeks of amenorrhoea. An emergency laparotomy detected an abdominal cavity filled with pus (>300 ml), many adhesions, and a 3 cm perforation of the uterus around the isthmus.

    She had a hysterectomy, a left annexectomy, and a right salpingectomy. Careful peritoneal cleaning, prolonged drainage, and a long course of strong antibiotics simplified the postoperative procedure. She returned home two weeks later.

    Aminata was born in Dakar. She received several years of primary education, married at the age of 17, and had …

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