CNN, Anderson Cooper trying to force hospital to hand over files on Canadian surgeon suing network for libel

National Post: The report, which was broadcast on TV and remains online, claimed eight infants had died in a little over three years at St. Mary’s Medical Center under Michael Black’s care.

CNN and its star presenter Anderson Cooper are trying to force two Canadian universities and a Toronto hospital to hand over private files on a heart surgeon whose high-flying career was allegedly destroyed by a CNN report about newborn babies dying after his operations.

The surgeon has filed a massive defamation lawsuit, so any records — even from the distant past — that might undermine his claim to be “impeccably credentialed” would be useful for CNN’s defence.

Michael Black was educated and trained in Ontario, where he developed a reputation as a “miracle worker” at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children in the late 1990s. He pioneered a kind of minimally invasive heart surgery for infants, attracting newborn patients in dire condition from around the world, but he left for a leadership post at Stanford University in 1999 after a dispute with Sick Kids about ownership of surgical tools he invented.

Years later, in 2011, Black was recruited to run a new pediatric cardiac surgery program at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., which tried to compete with larger Florida hospitals in the rarefied world of neonatal heart surgery, in which Black had become a superstar.

That all came crashing down in 2015 after the publication of ‘Secret Deaths: CNN Finds High Surgical Death Rate for Children at a Florida Hospital.’ Within months, the hospital’s CEO had resigned, the surgical program was shuttered, and Black’s career was “effectively ended,” he claims in legal documents. He also claims his family has been subjected as a result to “numerous violent threats.”  read more

9 Comments on CNN, Anderson Cooper trying to force hospital to hand over files on Canadian surgeon suing network for libel

  1. If your infant needs cardiac surgery it’s in pretty bad shape to start with. I would expect the mortality rate for those procedures to be higher than adult appendectomies.

  2. II have been a nurse for over twenty years. I work, mostly, in the ED now. From my experience, it’s the docs that are willing to take the highest risks, i.e., the sickest, most fragile, most complicated patients, that are going to have the highest mortality rates. When it comes to babies with sick hearts, most are not conveniently born in a hospital with a pediatric cardio-thoracic surgeon. The babes are stabilized, if possible, and transported. Although the receiving MD has gotten a report, and clinical/radiological data from transferring MD, those babies are coming in sight unseen and rushed from the helipad to the OR. Lots of patients decline during transport.
    I’m not familiar with this man, or this case; however, I am very familiar with CNN and their deceitful, insipid ways. Judging from what I know of CNN, verdict = Fake news!

  3. I am a cardiologist and have seen my share of bad surgeons. But I have also seen very good surgeons labeled bad as a result of the fact that they take on risky patients that have higher mortality. The only way to resolve the issue is an assessment of the surgeons peers, other doctors. CNN, certainly should not be voicing a position. In fact, I think their medical experts are a joke. Hope the surgeon cleans their clock.

  4. david7134, I am having a hell of a time trying to find a decent new PCP. Mine suddenly took a leave of absence. Probably will not return. There were no other PCP’s at clinic who could taking on new patients.
    Over the years I have gotten letters from that clinic, part of a huge hospital here in Seattle, thanking me for entrusting my health care with the, WHAT A JOKE. Assembly line medicine has taken over.

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