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August 19, 1974

Hemoglobin Munchausen

Author Affiliations

Veterans Administration Hospital Buffalo, NY

JAMA. 1974;229(8):1044-1045. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230460012005

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To the Editor.—  The recent article by Lindenbaum (228:498, 1974) concerning factitious symptoms of sickle cell crisis in persons trying to obtain medical attention or drugs should bring forth many anecdotal comments. During the present increased interest in sickle cell diseases, symptoms have been described well on television, in paperbound books with cover pictures of black family groups, and in "family" magazines sold at check-out counters of supermarkets. One of our patients changed his requests for medical attention to this "new diagnosis."A 20-year-old black man was hospitalized for investigation of jaundice and upper abdominal pains. He was found to have a compensated spherocytic hemolytic disorder of extracorpuscular type with negative antibody tests. No hemoglobinopathy was present. Conflicting medical histories were given to us about his jaundice and previous illnesses. It became apparent that he had a psychopathic personality and used considerable amounts of alcohol, narcotics, and other drugs. Spleen