On Monday, a court ruled that the family of Mark Chanko, a former resident of Stuyvesant Town whose death in 2011 after being hit by a truck was filmed for the show “NY Med,” couldn’t have unlimited access to the footage.
The Chankos had hoped to get access to over 50 minutes of footage, which had been used for a four-minute long segment of one episode of the ABC reality mini-series. That episode featured Chanko’s treatment in his final moments, including his death. The Chankos had argued the footage should be turned over to them, because they consider it part of Mark’s medical records.
The family sued after the show aired in 2016 since the footage of Chanko was taken without his or his family’s knowledge or permission. Chanko was shown with his face blurred and his voice altered. However, his widow, Anita, recognized him immediately.
Arguments were heard last Wednesday, and according to Ken Chanko, Mark’s son, who also lives in Stuyvesant Town, both the attorney for ABC and the hospital, New York Presbyterian, argued that the footage should remain sealed. ABC is no longer a defendant in the ongoing litigation alleging breach of patient privacy which is now just against NY Presbyterian and the elder Chanko’s physician, Sebastian Schubl.
The Chanko family at City Hall in July: Barbara, wife of Mark Chanko’s son Kenneth (right), Mark’s daughter Pamela and his widow Anita (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Last month, Town & Village reported on how local elected officials were calling on New York hospitals to respect patients’ privacy by not allowing them to be filmed without prior consent. This push came as a result of the story of Mark Chanko, a former Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper resident, whose medical treatment and death, after being struck by a truck near his home, wound up being filmed for an ABC reality show called “NY Med.” He hadn’t consented to being filmed nor had anyone in his family. Though his face was blurred, those who knew him, including his widow Anita, recognized him immediately.
When asked for comment in July, the Greater New York Hospital Association responded to T&V to say its president, Kenneth E. Raske, agreed with the elected officials and was asking hospitals to abide by their request. New York Presbyterian, where “NY Med” was filmed, is a member hospital.
More recently, the Greater New York Hospital Association took the statement a step further by contacting the elected officials who’d asked for a change in policy directly, including Council Member Dan Garodnick. Along with reiterating, in a letter, that the GNYHA agreed that patients shouldn’t be filmed for entertainment purposes, Raske said this policy is consistent with existing state and federal laws.