Malingering discussed at London Congress of Medicine

Published: 11 August 1913

There is nothing new about ‘malingering’, the International Congress of Medicine in London has been told.

In a paper contributed as part of the forensic medicine section of the Congress, Sir John Collie suggested that the problem had only achieved a recent prominence in the wake of the 1911 National Insurance Act. Collie remarked that many of the ‘approved societies’ feared that the act would encourage workers to feign or exaggerate sickness. It was an argument that, he suggested, was impossible to stand up or deny as there were still insufficient statistics available.  He added, however, that it may be necessary to implement measures to prevent malingering when dealing with 13 million insured people, nearly half of whom would not have had any insurance against sickness prior to the 1911 legislation.

Malingering is just one of a dizzying array of topics being discussed at the Seventeenth International Congress of Medicine, which is being held in London for the first time since 1881. Other subjects which have attracted attention include the increase in lunacy, development in tropical medicine, the bubonic plague, developments in diagnostic practice, TB, disease prevention, temperance, sleeplessness, infant mortality, dental hygiene and cancer research.

The purpose of the Congress, which has attracted over 7,000 doctors from all over the world, is to discuss the ‘latest discoveries of modern medical and surgical science’.

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