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September 1965

On Munchausen's Syndrome

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;13(3):261-268. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1965.01730030067009

MUNCHAUSEN'S syndrome has simultaneously fascinated and vexed general hospital physicians for many years.* Several case reports in the literature reflect pleasurable excitement in recounting the stories of patients who have wandered from hospital to hospital presenting dramatic symptoms and lurid medical histories.10 There is a certain admiration for these patients who cleverly fool admitting and emergency room personnel, and who at times can support the pretense of severe illness by producing factitious lesions in a manner which defies detection. Nevertheless, however strongly the interest of physicians may have been stimulated, the vexation is even more pronounced. Consider the situation of the intern or resident. He has admitted a patient with an intriguing diagnostic problem accompanied by all the excitement of an acute medical emergency. He contributes a great deal of time and energy to the study of the patient and