Woman suffered ruptured gallbladder after husband fell on her while dancing

Woman needed emergency surgery in case believed to be first of its kind

A woman suffered a ruptured gallbladder after her husband fell on top of her while they were dancing in the first case of its kind in Ireland.

The 34-year-old who presented to the emergency department of Our Lady of Lourdes hospital, Drogheda with pain across the lower part of her chest and her abdomen underwent emergency surgery as a result.

There have been a very few reported cases of gallbladder rupture secondary to a blunt trauma and the vast majority of these cases have been following a road traffic accident or a fall from a height.

The authors of Gallbladder Rupture Following Blunt Trauma, published in the latest edition of the Irish Medical Journal, said: “To the best of our knowledge and following extensive literature search, this is the first such case of traumatic gallbladder rupture in an adult patient following a simple fall of one person on to another.”


The woman, who had no previous medical history, arrived at the hospital complaining of pain across the lower part of her chest and her abdomen.

She had drunk a full bottle of wine in the hours leading up to her presentation. During a dance with her husband they both fell, with her husband landing on top of her as she landed on her back.

Her husband, of average build and height, weighed about 75kg, while the patient’s weight was approximately 65kg.

The study co-authors found that the case highlights the fact that “patients with normal initial vital signs or apparently benign mechanism of injury can have significant underlying injuries and these alone should not be used as a false reassurance”.

The woman underwent a physical examination six hours after the injury. It did not show any external signs of injury but revealed tenderness.

A CAT scan revealed significant fluid surrounding the gallbladder with an ill-defined and compressed gallbladder wall consistent with a ruptured gallbladder. She underwent emergency surgery once a diagnosis was confirmed.

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