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September 1988

Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy and Video Surveillance-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics
Department of Social Service
Department of Nursing Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh University of Pittsburgh Health Science Center One Children's Place 3705 Fifth Avenue at DeSoto Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(9):918. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150090015008

In Reply.—We appreciate the comments by Dr Frost and colleagues and the contributions they have made in the field of child abuse.

Covert videotaping of patients and their families indeed may be unacceptable to many professionals. Southall et al1 and others2 described in detail the extensive discussions they had with other professionals to address concerns before initiating videotaping. Epstein et al2 expressed concerns about legal and ethical considerations and that the hospital has an obligation to provide privacy to patients and their families. They expanded the traditional role of patient observation to include covert video monitoring and took great pains to try to provide some element of privacy to the mother while she was in the patient's room. Epstein et al also openly expressed concern that the mother of their patient may bring suit against the hospital. Since the physician's primary responsibility was the care and