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May 4, 1970

Arts of Deception

JAMA. 1970;212(5):875. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170180151026

Elsewhere in this issue (p 785) the story is told of efforts by the Germans during World War II to persuade US troops to feign illness. Although the extent of response is unknown, undoubtedly there was some.

Malingering is a way of life for a few people and therefore will occasionally be a problem to a physician in practice. One type of malingerer is fulfilling a physical need—the morphine addict whose supply of the drug has been depleted. He is likely to visit the physician's office or a hospital emergency room with a pat story of acute renal colic. When asked to produce a specimen of urine, he will gladly comply, contriving as he does so to insure that it will be bloody. He will require more than the usual dose of a narcotic before admitting to some relief of pain. He will have some excuse for refusing hospitalization.