Widow cannot sue ABC over husband's televised death: court

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The widow of a man whose death was aired on a reality show cannot hold ABC or the hospital that treated him liable for inflicting emotional distress, a New York appeals court has ruled.

The Manhattan court on Tuesday said ABC's conduct in filming the 2012 episode of NY Med was not extreme or outrageous enough to allow Anita Chanko's US$5 million (S$6.49 million) suit to proceed.

Chanko's husband, Mark Chanko, was hit by a truck in 2012 and died shortly after arriving at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. ABC aired his last words - "Does my family know?" - and showed doctors pronouncing him dead, according to the suit.

Chanko said ABC, a unit of Walt Disney Co, had robbed her husband of a dignified death and the hospital had violated patient privacy rights. A state judge in January rejected a bid by ABC and the hospital to dismiss the suit.

In refusing the case on Tuesday, the appeals court said Mark Chanko was not identified by name and his face was blurred out. The hospital did no wrong because it did not release any confidential medical information, the court said.

A lawyer and a spokesman for ABC did not return requests for comment. Nor did Chanko's attorney. NY Med debuted in 2012 and has featured staff and patients at five hospitals in New York City and New Jersey.

ABC has aired similar shows about Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and three hospitals in Boston.