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Covert Video Surveillance Needed to Diagnose

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy


WESTPORT, Jun 06 (Reuters Health) - Covert video surveillance is needed to a!e a
de"initive dia#nosis o" $unchausen s%ndroe &% 'ro(%, accordin# to a re'ort &%
researchers "ro )eor#ia* Without covert video surveillance, an% cases +ill not &e
dia#nosed, the authors re'ort in the June issue o" Pediatrics*
,r* ,avid E* Hall and collea#ues "ro Children-s Healthcare o" .tlanta at Scottish
Rite onitored /0 'atients &et+een 0112 and 0113* The tea, +hich included
'h%sicians, social +or!ers and ris! ana#ers, 'er"ored a retros'ective revie+ o"
edical, adinistrative, securit% and social +or! records* The% identi"ied 42 'atients
+ith a 5certain5 dia#nosis o" $unchausen s%ndroe &% 'ro(% durin# the 'eriod*
The use o" covert video surveillance +as crucial in dia#nosin# 02 (66*07) o" the
cases and +as su''ortive in the dia#nosis o" 6 (40*37) o" the cases* The covert video
surveillance +as also instruental in esta&lishin# the innocence o" the 'arents o" "our
'atients, accordin# to the re'ort*
5O" 'atients in the certain $unchausen s%ndroe &% 'ro(% cate#or%, 00 o" the
careta!ers +ere classi"ied as "a&ricators and 4 as inducers,5 the% re'ort* 58n 00 cases,
evidence o" &oth induceent and "a&rication +as discovered on video surveillance*5
Covert video surveillance +as needed to dia#nose 907 o" the cases in +hich the
others "a&ricated the illness* Surveillance +as also needed to esta&lish the dia#nosis
in t+o cases in +hich the child-s illness +as induced*
5Our data sho+ that the 'resence o" a deonstra&le edical disease does not
eliinate the 'ossi&ilit% o" $unchausen s%ndroe &% 'ro(%,5 ,r* Hall-s tea
concludes* Such 'revious encounters +ith the edical s%ste and its re+ards,
accordin# to the researchers, 5a% &e the "irst ste' to "a&rication or induceent o"
disease*5
,r* Hall-s tea also o&served careta!er &ehaviors that +ere indicative o" &ut not
conclusive "or $unchausen s%ndroe &% 'ro(%* These included a histor% o"
healthcare +or!, unusual "riendliness +ith the edical sta"", a &ad relationshi' +ith
the "ather, and &ein# 5unconcerned, even s%'athetic, +hen the doctor is una&le to
a!e a dia#nosis*5
5$unchausen s%ndroe &% 'ro(% is not a rare disease,5 the% 'oint out* 5. detailed
edical histor% "ro the 'arents, +hich is the 'h%sician-s ost valua&le tool in
dia#nosis "or ost illnesses, is rendered invalid in these cases*5
,r* Hall and collea#ues &elieve that all tertiar% care children-s hos'itals need to
5develo' 'rotocols and "acilities to 'er"or covert video surveillance to detect
$unchausen s%ndroe &% 'ro(%*5
Pediatrics 4000:006;0206-0204*