The family of the former Stuyvesant Town resident whose final moments after being hit by a truck were filmed without permission and aired on a reality show, scored a major victory last Thursday when a federal investigation resulted in a $2.2 million settlement with the hospital.
For the past three years the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) had been investigating whether the hospital, New York Presbyterian, violated HIPAA rules when it allowed a camera crew to film Mark Chanko without his or his family’s knowledge. The footage of Chanko, including his death, and the doctor delivering the sad news to his family (who didn’t know the doctor was wearing a microphone) was used in an episode of an ABC show called “NY Med.” It aired 16 months after Chanko’s visit to the hospital in 2011. His face was blurred and his voice altered but Chanko’s widow, Anita, recognized him immediately when watching “NY Med” at home.
A separate lawsuit filed by the family is set to be heard in the Court of Appeals following a decision earlier this month to allow it to proceed.
Additionally, legislation that would ban filming patients at hospitals without prior consent, which was drafted in response to Chanko’s filming, is currently pending at the state level.
On the settlement, the OCR referred to two patients, including Chanko, who had been filmed for the show, despite a medical professional asking the TV crew to stop filming.
LoMenzo (center) with his mother, his wife and his two sons after moving to Stuyvesant Town (Photos courtesy of Roger LoMenzo)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Joseph LoMenzo, an original tenant of Stuyvesant Town and a longtime officer at the 13th Precinct, died in Fort Myers, Florida this past Tuesday. His death came on the heels of celebrating a huge milestone for LoMenzo: his 100th birthday.
“He had this adrenaline and at all the parties, he was really energetic,” his oldest son Roger told Town & Village. “He really stuck it out.”
Just last month, Roger had accepted a plaque on his father’s behalf from officers at the 13th Precinct at the March Community Council meeting honoring this milestone. Of his father’s many years of service with the NYPD, most were spent at the 13th Precinct.
Having lived through the last century, and in New York for more than half of his life, LoMenzo had a unique perspective on the city from that time. When he was growing up in the Bronx, he watched Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth play ball in Yankee Stadium, witnessed the Hindenburg fly over the city prior to its explosion in New Jersey and spotted President Franklin Roosevelt in a casually sitting in a town car.
LoMenzo, who originally joined the NYPD while living in the Bronx, served in the military during World War II and when he was discharged from the army in 1946, he rejoined the NYPD at the 13th precinct. He had heard that Stuyvesant Town was being built so he put an application in for an apartment, to move closer to the neighborhood than the Bronx.