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July 15, 1974

The Unlockjaw Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Bloomington, Hawaii

JAMA. 1974;229(3):268. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230410014009

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To the Editor.—  Into my office a week ago barged seven bearded, sweat-drenched halftails, with a patient in tow. Pushing me to the side, they lashed him to the examining table and rushed away on their bumblebee cycles as fast as the machines would accelerate. A worm-eaten $10 bill was pinned to the patient's chest.

Report of a Case.—  The patient was a male, perhaps 25-year-old, disheveled specimen, alive, emitting a strange nonfetid, but disgusting, aromatic vapor. His jaws moved constantly, never quite closing, in a revolting figure-of-eight, saccadic rhythm, faster west-to-east than north-to-south. His eyes blinked constantly, his speech was unintelligibly confused by the drool exuding from his mouth. Reflexes were violently active. Omitting obviously irrelevant data on blood pressure, fever, and MMPI testing, I rapped him over the shins, gouged him in the eyeballs, and hyperextended his finger joints until he quieted sufficiently to obtain a specimen of