Malingering

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Worth distinguishing from psychological illness

In 1913 Sir John Collie wrote, in a book called Malingering that since benefits had been provided by the legislature to injured working people there was an increase in malingering. He suggested it had previously been common only in the military[1]. This seems not likely to be very accurate, however an extensive apparatus of State which periodically involves doctors exists to separate the malingerers from the physically or mentally incapable. This is a difficult task and would be hard for the most knowledgeable, diligent and wise to perform.

Ethical problems arise when a doctor sees a patient he has certified as incapable of work performing some feat previously thought beyond them - walking across the street, building a brick wall, or enjoying a movie for instance. These are also hard to solve.


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References

  1. BMJ 8 August 339 p351