A forensic case of Munchausen's syndrome

Canogullari G., ULUPINAR E., Teyin M., Balci Y.

Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, vol.14, no.3, pp.167-171, 2007 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


The case of a 37-year-old cleaning worker, who applied to the court with a claim of being fired from her job due to permanent functional loss of her left arm triggered by a stroke following a work accident, is presented. The court has forwarded the case to the forensic medicine department for further evaluation and documentation of the judicial report. Examination of the medical files has revealed that the person applied to our and other hospitals with various symptoms simulating urologic, neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and pulmonary disorders. The person had been hospitalized for extensive, costly, and often invasive medical examinations and/or treatment, and deceived the physicians into carry out unnecessary diagnostic procedures. No objective signs or evidence related to a work accident or stroke was obtained from the medical records. She has been followed up with the diagnosis of lymphangitis, thrombophlebitis and repeated cellulities since 2001, and the infection had been caused by intentional insertion of glass pieces into her left arm. The reason why she was unable to use her left arm was because of contraction related to the repeated soft tissue infection rather than the claimed work accident. This case was not only trying the medical personnel to make errors and confusion, but also attempting to mislead the judgment. Therefore, in forensic cases, medical history of patient must be evaluated carefully. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd and AFP.