How Low Can a TV Show Go?

     MANHATTAN (CN) – ABC TV filmed a man dying in a hospital, and a doctor telling his family he had died, and broadcast it all on the show “NY Med” without telling the family or the dead man it was filming them, the family claims in court.
     The family claims the defendants neither informed them nor asked their permission, and that they found out about it all by seeing themselves and their late husband and father on TV.
     Anita Chanko says ABC filmed and broadcast the dying words of her husband as he was being treated at co-defendant New York Presbyterian Hospital aka Weill Cornell Medical Center, on East 68th Street.
     Chanko and her three children also sued three doctors: Sebastian Schubl, Anil S. Ranawat, and Travis Maak, in New York County Supreme Court.
     Chanko claims her husband, Mark, was admitted to the hospital on April 29, 2011, and the three defendant doctors were his treating physicians.
     She claims the hospital let ABC in to film its TV show, and that it filmed her dying husband.
     The complaint states: “That on April 29, 2011 Mark S. Chanko, deceased, died while being treated by said hospital and physicians and his final words, treatment and death were recorded by defendant American Broadcasting Companies Inc. and used in an episode of ‘NY Med’ that was first broadcast on the ABC television network on August 21, 2012 and that was then rebroadcast as an on demand program and was made available for viewing on the Internet.”
     The widow says she and her family “were present at the hospital at the time he was treated and died. That at the said time and place defendant Sebastian Schubl, M.D. and a social worker employed by defendant hospital verbally informed the said plaintiffs of the death Mark S. Chanko. The delivery of the news of the death to the family was recorded by ABC News and broadcast as a scene in the above described episode of ‘NY Med.'”
     The complaint continues: “That neither Mark S. Chanko, deceased, nor any of the plaintiffs were aware that they or the events above recited were being recorded and they never gave written or oral consent to the use and broadcasting and dissemination of any of the recorded events.
     “That plaintiffs first became aware that the medical treatment and death of Mark S. Chanko, and the delivery of the news of the death to the family had been recorded for use in a television show when Mark S. Chanko’s widow, plaintiff Anita Chanko, watched a broadcast of the above described episode of ‘NY Med’ on her television and when said episode was subsequently viewed by each of the plaintiffs.”
     The family adds: “That no member of the public had or has any legitimate interest in this information.”
     The family seeks punitive damages for privacy invasion, wantonness, outrage, and emotional distress.
     They are represented by Mark J. Fox.

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