Widow requests $5 million damages from ABC for emotional distress. Anita Chanko, a widow who saw her husband die on an ABC reality shows, sued the television station for making a public show out of her husband’s funeral.
Her husband died at the age of 83 in the emergency room of the Presbyterian Hospital in New York, in 2011. Sixteen months later, in the summer of 2012, the show was aired. That same year, the widow’s family filed a lawsuit. In 2014 a state appeal court said that the images aired weren’t extreme or outrageous as his name had not been mentioned and his face was blurred the entire show. Even so, family and friends claimed they recognized his voice.
“You could hear his speech pattern. I hear my husband say, ‘Does my wife know I’m here?” Mrs. Chanko said.
Also, the woman said that the last words of her past husband were an intimate moment, and that she hadn’t been asked for permission to share that moment with millions of people on a reality show. She stated that seeing her husband die on television made her go under shock. Mr. Chanko’s wife said that she hadn’t been the only one who recognized her husband’s voice on TV. The person taking care of her pets also recognized his voice and and she remembers being called and asked if her husband was on TV.
She filed for a lawsuit against ABC television, for airing the show, the New York Presbyterian Hospital for allowing an ER case to be filmed without the family approval and also the surgeon attending her husband in his last minutes.
Former Mr. Chanko’s family said that the last minutes of their loved husband, father and grandfather have been turned into a TV show without their approval, just for the entertainment of strangers.
The New York State Health Department agreed on the fact that the hospital violated the dying rights to privacy of the dying man. The hospital replied that the law prohibits doctors to expose data about their patients on the duration of the treatment. The attorney of Chanko’s family said that when Mr. Chanko was brought in, in the ER had been already set up lights and cameras and that the ABC crew members were dressed in medical suits to create a scenery.
Even though the case has been dismissed by the appeal court, the widow and her family demanded for a review of the decision and are working on an appeal.
Image Source: Pro Publica