A defamation suit against CNN host Anderson Cooper and Elizabeth Cohen, medical correspondent, was moved ahead by the judge. Last year, a 208 -page defamation lawsuit was started by Dr. Michael Black against the CNN host and the correspondent stating that a segment was aired that exaggerated the death-rate of babies by the doctor. The doctor alleges he received death threats due to the television segment airing.
Although Cooper and Cohen tried to get the judge to throw the lawsuit out of court, the judge found that there was enough evidence to suggest that Dr. Black had an argument and approved the lawsuit.
Because of this lawsuit against the CNN host, Dr. Black has lost his job as a pediatric cardiac surgeon at St. Mary’s Medical Center where he led the pediatric cardiac surgery program. Although he lost his position as the head of that program, he still does have a job working as a doctor at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Because of all this, he started a lawsuit against Cooper and Cohen.
According to Black, he started the lawsuit against Cooper and Cohen because they exaggerated the facts of the story, stating that more than the national average of babies died under his care. Although Cooper and Cohen used statistics to back up their information, Black says this information was “made-up” by them to make him look bad.
Black also stated that the network showed his picture during the segment and said that he “treated babies as sacrificial lambs” and said that he made a huge mess with newborn babies. Black had also accused the TV network of “reckless disregard” and of defaming his name by stating the number of babies that had lost their lives while under the care of Dr. Black was 12.5 percent which is about three times more than the national average.
Dr. Black claims that CNN had an agenda for reporting these so-called “true” statistics. He says they were trying to grab more views on the segment and that they were using him to get those. By saying he was using babies to gain money even if it meant their lives, the hyped story drew more viewers.
Anderson Cooper aired some footage of the hospital on CNN and used the story headline, “Secret Deaths: CNN Finds High Surgical Death Rate for Children at a Florida Hospital.” According to the segment, the doctor and his program were responsible for nine babies dying after having heart surgery.
Even though the doctor still works at the medical center in West Palm Beach, Florida, he was hit with many malpractice lawsuits by parents of these babies. He also stated he received many death threats by the parents, with one that said he would be “butchered just like (his) patients.” However, this threat was made by an anonymous caller.
Dr. Black also said that the network knew the statistic were false but ran the story anyway just to get viewers for their segment about the hospital. After the segment about the pediatric heart program was aired, it was shut down.
Cooper tried to have the lawsuit against him, his colleagues, and the network thrown out of court. However, it didn’t work since the judge handling the case said that the doctor presented enough evidence for it to be heard and it will, indeed, move forward.
Black said he told the producers of the segment on CNN that their numbers were wrong many times but, according to him, they ran the story anyway. He also stated that his practice was in-line with the national average of deaths after heart surgery in newborns, which is 3.3 percent.
Black claims that not only was this a rating’s grab but that they left out his resume and his career accomplishments on purpose.
With this lawsuit proceeding to the next stage, Cooper and the network could be looking at a costly trial. Perhaps they will settle out of court to simply make this go away.