(Received 2 February 1976; accepted 9 March 1976)
Published Online: January
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The forensic practitioner is well aware of the self-destructive behavior of man through his experiences in evaluating cases in which a life has been taken through self-destructive means, but he may never encounter those cases occasionally confronting his clinical colleagues in which this self-destructive behavior is manifested against a part of the body and results in serious injury or mutilation. This abnormal behavior has been referred to by Karl Menninger  as “focal suicide” and is a manifestation of primary aggressive tendencies directed against one's self. Focal suicide is part of Menninger's general classification of self-destructive behavior of man (Table 1) and includes self-mutilations, malingering, “polysurgery” (compulsion to submit to surgical operations on many occasions), purposeful accidents, and impotence and frigidity.
Director, Laboratory, St. Francis Hospital, Wichita, Kans.
Stock #: JFS10393J