Vital Signs

Why can't this woman breathe?

By Tony Dajer|Sunday, June 27, 2004
The patient was an elderly Chinese immigrant with a history of gastric cancer. She had come into the emergency room in New York City complaining of abdominal pain. “Tung, tung?” I asked in my laughable Cantonese. She pinwheeled a hand over her belly. “Pain everywhere.” When I pressed on her abdomen, she grimaced. But she had no fever or evidence of peritonitis, an inflammation of the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity.“How long?” I asked her English-spea...

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