The 15-year-old victim of Rapunzel syndrome. The 15-year-old victim had ingested more than a kilo of hair.

Death of Coahuila girl, 15, attributed to Rapunzel syndrome

Doctors believe she had been eating her hair for 10 years

The death of a 15-year-old girl in Monclova, Coahuila, has been attributed to Rapunzel syndrome, an extremely rare disorder characterized by compulsive hair-eating.

At the time of her death, Katia Jatziri’s stomach contained more than a kilo and a half of her own hair.

The girl’s mother had taken her to a local IMSS clinic but she was later transferred to a hospital due to the seriousness of her condition, but doctors were unable to save her.

Katia’s intestines burst from the blockage caused by the hair as doctors were preparing to take a CAT scan. Due to the fact she weighed just 20 kilograms, they decided they would not be able to operate.

They also noted that the girl was seriously malnourished, anemic and had a very high blood platelet count.

Septic shock was declared the cause of death.

The girl’s mother initially stated that she intended to denounce the clinic’s doctors for negligence but has not done so.

However, the doctors who attended the case indicated they would file a report of possible parental negligence. Due to the volume of hair that was found it is suspected the girl had been swallowing it for at least 10 years.

Sixty per cent of people who suffer from Rapunzel syndrome are 10 to 20-year-old girls. Hair-eating is considered primarily psychological by medical experts and is seen as a way to deal with anxiety, depression and other psychological conditions. Rapunzel syndrome is often accompanied by other eating disorders.

Source: El Universal (sp), La Prensa de Monclova (sp)

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