DURING the early 1970s sickle cell anemia as a major health problem has been widely publicized in the black community.1,2 In a recent romantic movie, the heroine is said to be slowly dying of the disease. Mass screening programs have generated undue anxiety in carriers and their parents.1-3
A side effect of increasing publicity could be the development in psychiatrically susceptible individuals of a previously unencountered form of the Munchausen syndrome,4 with classical, although factitious, symptoms of sickle cell disease.
Four such patients, all women, have been seen recently at the Harlem Hospital Center. Two cases were observed on a single occasion only. The other two are briefly reported here.
Report of Cases
A 28-year-old black woman, separated and formerly a nurses' aide, used several different names when hospitalized here 15 times between 1966 and 1972. She had also been admitted to at least 14
Lindenbaum J. Hemoglobin Munchausen. JAMA. 1974;228(4):498. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230290046032
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: