A case of bad prawns?

A distressed middle-aged woman who presents with a recent history of vomiting and epigastric pain receives an unexpected diagnosis

Karen, a 53-year-old woman who had not previously attended our medical centre, presented with a recent history of recurrent vomiting and epigastric pain.

Her symptoms had started the previous evening, about half an hour after eating a prawn curry in a restaurant. She requested a prescription for some medication to stop her vomiting.

At this point in the consultation, Karen broke down, complaining that this was the last thing she needed in her life as she had been having a very difficult time recently.

Four months ago, she had relocated from interstate to outer south-western Melbourne.

She had subsequently learnt that her brother and his family, whom she had been relying on to house her, were not able to take her in. Currently, she was staying with friends and looking for a job.

Before she had relocated, she had had to put down her otherwise well 16-year-old cat, an animal she had loved