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August 4, 1951


Author Affiliations

Jefferson Barracks, Mo.

From the Medical Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, Fort Logan, Colorado, and Medical Center, University of Colorado School of Medicine. Sponsored by the Veterans Administration and published with the approval of the Chief Medical Director. The statements and conclusions published by the author are a result of his own study and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of the Veterans Administration.

JAMA. 1951;146(14):1315-1316. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.63670140003011b

One of the most fascinating medical cases concerns that of paroxysmal flutter of the diaphragm. From time to time accounts of the rare condition come to the attention of physicians who have observed an irascible individual who has made a livelihood of exhibiting his affliction in various institutions. The patient, Walter E. Urwiler, is 69 yr. of age, and, although he enlisted in the Army on two occasions, he is not entitled to care by the Veterans Administration because of desertion in both enlistments. Since 1935 six reports concerning his case have been published in medical journals. Recently, Federal charges against him were dismissed, and he was ordered released to the Army for disposition as a deserter.

In all instances of reported hospitalizations there have been evidences of psychopathy, malingering, belligerency, and procacity. Aliases are numerous and include the following: John J. Allen, Lewis Allen, Charles Blackwell, Charles Bennett, Frank

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