Case Report of gastroparesis healing: 16 years of a chronic syndrome resolved after proximal intercessory prayer

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Medical Journal:

Received 30 December 2018, Revised 6 March 2019, Accepted 8 March 2019, Available online 9 March 2019.

Gastroparesis information:

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The abstract:  

A male infant at two weeks of age was hospitalized vomiting forcefully. He had a pyloromyotomy. He did not improve with medical therapy. The diagnosis of gastroparesis was made after a nuclear medicine gastric emptying study and intestinal manometry. He required a gastrostomy tube (g-tube) and a jejunostomy tube (j-tube) for feeding. At 11 months of age, the j-tube was converted into a feeding jejunostomy with Roux-en-Y limb. For 16 years he was completely dependent on j-tube feeding. In November 2011, he experienced proximal-intercessory-prayer (PIP) at a church and felt an electric shock starting from his shoulder and going through his stomach. After the prayer experience, he was unexpectedly able to tolerate oral feedings. The g- and j-tube were removed four months later and he did not require any further special treatments for his condition as all symptoms had resolved. Over seven years later, he has been free from symptoms. This article investigates a case of PIP as an alternative intervention for resolving severe idiopathic gastroparesis when maximal medical management is not effective.

The story

This case is about a 23-year old male who experienced intermittent cramping and projectile vomiting at one week of age. Soon after he was diagnosed with gastroparesis (a chronic, lifelong condition that is known to significantly impact the quality and length of life).

The maximum medical treatment was administered, but proved ineffective. For the following sixteen years, his symptoms remained severe and refractory and he was dependent on a feeding tube.

However, come November 2011 he experienced what is known as “proximal intercessory prayer” (PIP) from an evangelist who reported his own story of having his life spared when his intestines were severed in a serious car accident. The evangelist received permission and was allowed to pray for him.

About halfway through the prayer, the boy described experiencing a shock throughout his body. The night that followed after this encounter, he ate a meal without any complications. According to the journal article, this kind of instant, lasting recovery from gastroparesis is unique in the scholarly literature. The journal authors write:

“For 16 years the patient was totally dependent on j-tube feedings and could not tolerate any form of oral feeding. After receiving PIP, his intolerance to oral feedings was completely resolved. He was able to tolerate oral feedings and was completely taken off of the j-tube feedings one month after the PIP experience”.

p. 291

Could it be the Placebo Effect? After surveying the literature and concluding that the placebo effect cannot be completely ruled out, the authors conclude, “In the end, there is insufficient evidence that placebo effects can account for the observed resolution of symptoms” (p. 292).

Quite remarkably, even the patient’s pediatric gastroenterologist (who was his primary care physician for 16 years) described it as difficult to explain. This may not be a nail down proof, I’m cautious to say such a word, but it sure looks like it. Everything that fell into place is beyond modern medical understanding of what is possible. 

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