On the detection of fakesBMJ 2007; 334 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39192.664583.94 (Published 26 April 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:905
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
Medical books these days don't have such good titles as they once had. The other day, for example, I came across a book that I had long wanted to possess, published in 1843: On Feigned and Factitious Diseases Chiefly of Soldiers and Seamen, On the Means Used to Simulate or Produce Them, and On the Best Modes of Discovering Impostors. It was by Hector Gavin MD, who at the time was surgeon to the London Orphan Society and to the British Penitent Female Refuge. These days, of course, no British female is penitent.
The book was the prize essay in military surgery in the University of Edinburgh for 1835-6, written when Gavin was 20 years old. We mature physically earlier …