Munchausen syndrome presenting acutely in the emergency department

Stephen W. Bretz, John R Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Munchausen syndrome is a rare psychiatric disorder in which patients purposely harm themselves to gain medical attention. These patients may present to unsuspecting emergency department (ED) staff members with life- threatening signs and symptoms. We report a case of Munchausen syndrome in which a young man with ties to the medical community and a history of substance abuse presented to our ED with refractory hypoglycemia and a dilated right pupil. The patient required large amounts of dextrose, endotracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, and admission to the intensive care unit. Further investigation revealed that he had purposely injected himself with a large dose of insulin and instilled atropine drops in his right eye for the purpose of seeking hospitalization. The history, details, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis are discussed in the context of this case. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-420
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2000


  • Emergency department
  • Factitious disorder
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Munchausen syndrome
  • Self- harm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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