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Medical mystery: Doctor's diagnosis drew laughs, but saved woman's life

The Washington Post, December 7, 2010

Doctors at three Upstate New York hospitals had been stymied by Donna Landrigan, whose case was unlike any they had seen. The previously healthy 35-year-old mother of three had initially become so psychotic she had to be tied to her hospital bed to keep her from hurting herself or attacking others. A few weeks later she had been placed in a medically induced coma to protect her from the continuous seizures wracking her brain, spasms that could have killed her.

Every promising lead had seemed to turn into a dead end, and the dangers of prolonged coma, including severe brain damage, were mounting. Things looked so hopeless that doctors had begun discussing whether to suggest terminating life support.

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