Hospital to pay $2.2M settlement over man’s death on reality show

Mark and Ken Chanko on a family cruise in 2006

Mark and Ken Chanko on a family cruise in 2006

By Sabina Mollot

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.

Continue reading

ABC show with Dr. Oz filmed dying man without permission

Stuy Town resident and family’s suit to be heard in Court of Appeals

Ken Chanko Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Ken Chanko (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

It was in April of 2011 when Stuyvesant Town resident Ken Chanko lost his father, Mark, after he was fatally hit by a truck.

Mark Chanko, who also lived in Stuyvesant Town for most of his life and was a Korean War army veteran, was struck on the street in front of where he’d lived in more recent years, in Yorkville. He was 83.

Because the death was caused by an accident, and the driver wasn’t drunk, there were no criminal charges filed.

But then, nearly a year and half later, Ken Chanko and the rest of his family wound up experiencing Mark’s death a second time — this time because it was broadcast on a reality show that was filmed – without his father’s or any of the Chankos’ knowledge — at the hospital where Mark had been treated.

The show, “NY Med,” featuring television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, was filmed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, a medical institution which, along with the show’s network, ABC, has since ended up on the end of a lawsuit filed by the Chanko family, alleging breach of medical confidentiality and pain and suffering. ABC, after initially being contacted by Ken, did agree to pull the segment that included the segment about his father, and to not include it in a DVD for the episode slated for later release. However, the family still went ahead on filing a lawsuit, when, according to Ken, there was “no apology and no admission of wrongdoing.” Pulling the segment, he added, “wasn’t out of the goodness of their hearts.” In fact, he added that at first, a hospital rep had told him she couldn’t do anything about it and that he should call ABC.

Continue reading