A medical reality show used footage of a woman’s husband dying without her knowledge or permission and she only found out because she tuned in to watch the program.
Mark Chanko was struck and killed by a New York City sanitation truck. He is survived by his wife, Anita Chanko, who counts “NY Med” as one of her favorite television shows.
About 16 months after Mark’s death, Anita sat down to watch the program and, to her horror, her husband’s final moments in the hospital were being shown, reports PIX 11.
“I actually watched my husband die in front of my eyes and the worst thing is not only did I hear him moan and groan in pain but I heard him say, ‘Does my wife know I’m here?'” Anita said.
“I heard the doctor say. ‘I’m ready to pronounce him. Are you ready?’ I watched him die before my eyes without so much as a heads up from the show,” Anita said.
New York City Council member Dan Garodnick and members of the State Senate and Assembly are now pushing to stop this from happening to anyone again. Out of the 51 City Council members, 33 signed a letter and sent it to all of the New York City hospitals asking them to not allow reality television programs to film inside and to stop them from violating patient rights, reports FOX 13.
“We embrace reality TV,” Garodnick said. "This, however, is a crude window into people’s medical care and is an unacceptable invasion of privacy and it is a breach in the trust patients place in the hands of their doctors and their hospitals.”
Legislation has also been proposed, but is currently tabled, that would make it illegal for a reality television program like “NY Med” to broadcast footage without first obtaining patient or family consent. Lawmakers hope it will be reconsidered next year.
“We were absolutely horrified,” Assembly member Ed Braunstein said. "We could not believe the actions of the hospital and the broadcasting company were deemed legal.”
The Greater New York Hospital Association, which represents more than 100 hospitals across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, agrees that patient or family consent should be required if they are to be filmed for entertainment purposes.
The Chanko family has filed a lawsuit against broadcaster ABC, “NY Med,” and New York Presbyterian Hospital. The case is set to be heard by the state appeals court in the fall.