Doctor sues CNN for defamation

Posted at 3:32 PM, Feb 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-16 19:08:19-05

A pediatric heart doctor is suing CNN, several of its correspondents as well as a Palm Beach County woman for defamation.

Michael D. Black, MD, MBA claims a CNN reporton what it called a high surgical death rate for children at the pediatric cardiac surgery program at St. Mary's Medical Center was false and defamatory.

According to the 210 page legal complaint,"the preconceived goal of the June 1, 2015 article and video report was to manufacture an outrageous headline-grabbing story  about  an  incompetent,  dishonest,  and  inexperienced  doctor  leading  a  surgical  program  in crisis  and  recklessly  operating  on  young  children  to  profit  at the  expense  of those children's lives.

The suit names CNN, correspondents Elizabeth Cohen, Dana Ford, Anderson Cooper and producer John Bonifield. It also names Kelly Robinson and describes her as a Jupiter resident who made multiple false and defamatory statements about the doctor to his colleagues and patients. It also claims she was a key source for the CNN defendants.

After the report was aired St. Mary's responded by saying: "CNN reported an inaccurately calculated mortality rate based on an incorrect assumption of our program's volume."

St. Mary's later closed its Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program. It based its decision on what it called "inaccurate media reports" which "made it significantly more challenging to build sustainable volume in our program."

Doctor Black is requesting a jury trial.