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Although the field of Surveillance Studies privileges detailed accounts of how and when surveillance occurs, it is also important to remain open to instances of aborted or failed surveillance and manifold impediments to surveillance. It is vital for researchers to document and theorize absence in order to better understand and perhaps mitigate the presence of egregious forms of surveillance. To this end, in this paper we discuss some of the many forms of obduracy that confront surveillance-capable information systems in hospitals. We draw upon primary data from three years of field research on the implementation and use of tracking and identification systems in U.S. hospitals to show that many of the control functions of hospital information systems are attenuated by individual resistance but also by a host of technical, material, financial, and cultural constraints. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]