The Curious Case of the Patient Who Was Killed by a Corpse

Albert Lowenfels, MD


January 05, 2012

The Case

The patient was a 57-year-old male who discovered a hidden body after a prolonged and costly search.

The corpse was that of a young man, who died under somewhat unusual, possibly violent, circumstances and was buried in a secret location that remained undiscovered for many years. Although buried for a long time, the body was well preserved. Little is known about the health status of the young man during his life, except that he may have been androgynous. He seemed to have difficulty walking, requiring the use of a cane. Final events, possibly leading to his death, were a fractured skull and a fracture of the leg.

After encountering the corpse, the patient, an astute but amateur scientist, spent many hours in close contact with the body. One evening, several weeks after discovering the gravesite, while he was shaving, the patient sliced off a healing facial pimple that probably originated from a mosquito bite. The cut on his face became infected and soon afterwards he died.

Medical History

The patient was a previously healthy 57-year-old man, married with 2 children, and with no known familial disease. The patient was a smoker, and his history included a serious automobile crash when he was 35 years old, which may have caused a punctured lung. His other injuries at the time of the vehicular crash included a broken wrist, burns, and damage to his palette. After he recovered, he remained thin and fragile, suffering from recurrent lung infections.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.