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Management Challenges of Recurrent Foreign Body Ingestions in a Psychiatric Patient: A Case Report.

Intentional foreign body ingestions (FBIs) are commonly seen in adult patients with intellectual disabilities, substance use, severe psychiatric conditions, or external motivations, but these cases are rarely reported in the psychiatric literature. We present the case of a patient with an extensive history of FBIs and suicide attempts and a multitude of psychiatric diagnoses including borderline personality disorder, major depressive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder from significant abuse in foster care, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and pica. During the single hospitalization described in this report, she had multiple incidents of self-harm, aggression, and 9 FBIs. A multidisciplinary team involving psychiatry, emergency medicine, gastroenterology, surgery, internal medicine, nursing, social work, behavioral health technicians, case management, chaplain, the legal department, police officers, and hospital maintenance was necessary for care coordination. Interventions included 8 endoscopies and an abdominal surgery to retrieve swallowed foreign bodies, pain management, psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic interventions for agitation, and environmental precautions to minimize the risk of ingestion. Ultimately, to prevent further trauma and limit additional opportunities for FBI, a collaborative decision was made with the patient to discharge her to her home with outpatient psychologist and psychiatrist support. This case describes the complexities of hospital management of a patient with intentional recurrent FBI, highlighting the importance of a critical assessment of risk versus benefit for prolonging hospitalization. Development of practical management protocols and risk assessments for continued hospitalization is necessary for patients with recurrent intentional FBIs.

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