Surgeon sues CNN for defamation

The doctor at the center of a CNN story that eventually led to the closure of the pediatric cardiac surgery program at St. Mary’s Medical Center struck back, reports the Palm Beach Post, filing a defamation law suit against CNN.

The lead reporter on the story, senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, anchor Anderson Cooper, producer John Bonifield and CNN employee Dana Ford, plus the network itself, are among the defendants of this law suit.

Dr. Michael Black’s meticulous 208-page lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court claims CNN — with wanton malice and reckless disregard for the truth — miscalculated the mortality rate for St. Mary’s fledgling program, reporting that it was three times the national average.

The suit called the death rate calculation by CNN “a fundamentally flawed pseudo-statistical analysis.”

Black did not specify a dollar amount to be sought at trial except to say he seeks compensation for “reputational and economic harm.”

CNN responded to the suit in a statement: “We intend to fight this in the courts. We will fight hard in defense of our reporting and we expect to prevail.”

One of Black’s attorneys stated, “CNN recklessly — and repeatedly — ignored information demonstrating the absolute falsity of their claims about Dr. Black and the surgical program he led, and deliberately manipulated statistics to fit their predetermined conclusion about the quality of care provided by Dr. Black and St. Mary’s.”

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