Former resident’s family denied footage of his final moments, which were filmed for reality TV show

Mark and Ken Chanko on a family cruise in 2006

Mark and Ken Chanko on a family cruise in 2006

By Sabina Mollot

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.

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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.

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Lawsuit over man’s death on reality show can proceed

Mark Chanko, who was at one time a resident of Stuyvesant Town, died in 2011, but unbeknownst to his family, his final moments were filmed for a reality show. He’s pictured (left) with son Ken, currently a Stuy Town resident, in 2006

Mark Chanko, who was at one time a resident of Stuyvesant Town, died in 2011, but unbeknownst to his family, his final moments were filmed for a reality show. He’s pictured (left) with son Ken, currently a Stuy Town resident, in 2006

By Sabina Mollot

The Court of Appeals has allowed a lawsuit filed by the family of a late former resident of Stuyvesant Town, who unbeknownst to him had been filmed for a reality show as he lie dying in a hospital room, to proceed.

The widow and grown children of Mark Chanko, the man who was filmed at the hospital following being hit by a truck, had appealed a decision by the Appellate Court to dismiss the suit. However, in a decision last Thursday, a judge ruled that while the suit can go on against the hospital, New York Presbyterian, the ABC network that was responsible for the show, mini-series “NY Med” featuring Dr. Mehmet Oz, is no longer a defendant. New York Presbyterian Hospital and Doctor Sebastian Schubl, who treated Chanko, are still named as defendants.

In the court decision, Judge Leslie Stein also ruled that the suit alleging a breach of patient/physician confidentiality could continue while another charge of deliberate infliction of distress was dropped.

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NY hospitals agree not to film patients without permission

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)

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.

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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.

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