Covert surveillance in Munchausen's syndrome by proxy An infringement of Human rights

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6936.1100 (Published 23 April 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1100
  1. G Tenney

    EDITOR, - According to Donald Evans, covert video surveillance is not clinical practice but part of a research activity that has not been scrutinised by the local research ethics committee.1 I am a mother who was investigated under covert video surveillance. After my baby repeatedly suffered attacks of apnoea we were referred to a tertiary centre in Staffordshire. We were provided with a home “event” monitor and recorder. Because of suspicions raised by doctors on the basis of the recordings I and my baby were put under secret observation in hospital.

    During the three weeks of secret observation my baby was kept in a cubicle for the whole time and not allowed out even for an hour; was kept connected to a physiological monitor for the whole of this time and not allowed out of her cot even for meals; and was not allowed to sit in a high chair for feeding - I had to feed her through the bars. I was not allowed to bath her during this time, and, even though she was walking when she went in to hospital, by the time she came out she could not walk. During this period of secret observation I was not offered any respite by the staff and was not offered food. I had to ask a nurse to sit with my daughter so that I could get food. I had no food at all one day because the nurses were too busy to relieve me.

    Being filmed in this way infringed my human rights and my rights as a mother.


    1. 1.

    Clinical investigation, not research activity

    1. R Wheatley

      EDITOR, - In his letter on the ethics of covert video surveillance Donald Evans misses an important point, 1 especially given recent media interest in the matter. For the unwitting subjects (the children) described by Samuels et …

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