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Patient Stories

15 Years of Intense Abdominal Pain: A Medical Mystery Solved

BY JENNIFER CHEN March 8, 2018

Yale Medicine doctors from several departments piece together a diagnosis for a patient with a mysterious condition.
Poster for video 15 Years of Intense Abdominal Pain: A Medical Mystery Solved

For 15 years, Courtney Warren endured daily, intense abdominal pain and regular episodes of vomiting. She went to specialist after specialist, often waiting months for an appointment, only to be told that her tests results were normal, she could not be diagnosed with anything, and therefore could not be treated. "I would literally feel like there was a snake writhing in my abdomen," she says. And yet no one could tell her what was wrong. At Yale Medicine, Courtney was seen by a group of doctors who did what ended up being the key to identifying her mysterious illness—they listened.

Courtney's symptoms and lifelong medical history led to a diagnosis and—finally—a long-awaited treatment. "After about 8 weeks, I woke up and my pain just wasn't there. It was something I'd dream about but something that I didn't ever actually know was going to happen."

In this video, doctors Lisa Sanders, MD; Deena Kuruvilla, MD; Silvio Inzucchi, MD; Cassius Iyad Ochoa Chaar,MD, MS; and Joan Cho, MD, talk about the nature of medical mysteries, treating Warren, and the importance of multidisciplinary care.