The LeRoy Catastrophe: A story of death, determination, and the importance of nutrition in medicine.

“To this day, I wonder whether his death certificate truly reflected the cause of death: ‘physician-induced’ malnutrition.”  – from The LeRoy catastrophe

Below is the abstract of this article as published by The Columbia Medical Review. It can be viewed in full here. The Review has recently launched a place for thought leaders to convene and develop action-oriented agendas to combat contemporary and anticipated social issues in medicine.

Abstract

In August 1976, a young man named LeRoy fell from a ledge, fracturing his femur. Major internal bleeding was suspected. During a laparotomy, the trauma team ensured that all internal organs were intact and the orthopedic team set his fracture. Thirty days later, LeRoy died. He had eaten little; each day he only received three liters of glucose, the equivalent of 510 calories, intravenously. The glucose was insufficient to meet his nutritional needs, and he lost over 20% of his body weight during his hospital stay. The cause of death was due to “physician-induced” malnutrition. Meanwhile, a paper around the same time documented that the prevalence of malnutrition in Boston hospitals was 44% and that malnutrition itself was a predictor of higher complication and death rates.

Continue reading The LeRoy Catastrophe: A story of death, determination, and the importance of nutrition in medicine.