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Covert video surveillance and the principle of double effect: a response to criticism.
  1. E A Shinebourne
  1. Royal Brompton Hospital, London.


    In some young children brought by their parents for diagnosis of acute life-threatening events investigations suggested imposed apnoea as the cause rather than spontaneous occurrence. Covert video surveillance of the cot in which the baby was monitored allowed confirmation or rebuttal of this diagnosis. That parents were not informed of the video recording was essential for diagnosis and we assert ethically justifiable as the child was the patient to whom a predominant duty of care was owed. The procedure also avoids the risk of separation of child from parent on inadequate information.

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