chapter  4
J . H. Desnick, M.D. Eye Services, Ltd., et al. v. American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., Jon Entine, and Sam Donaldson
Pages 36

Based both on the content of the 18-minute report and the newsgathering techniques employed-including the use of hidden cam­ eras-Dr. Desnick, an ophthalmologist, and two of his associates filed suit against ABC, Donaldson, and the segment’s producer, Jon Entine. The doctor’s claims included trespass, invasion of privacy, and defamation. The report was highly critical of the Desnick Eye Center and its practices. The allegations made by PrimeTime Live included the claims that elderly patients were recruited for eye examinations, that they were told they re­ quired cataract surgery even when they did not, and that Medicare-and thus, the taxpayers-was defrauded in covering the cost of the operation. According to a court record, the report also included

[a] former marketing executive for the Center [who] says Desnick took ad­ vantage of “people who had Alzheimer’s, people who did not know what planet they were on, people whose quality of life wouldn’t change one iota by having cataract surgeiy done.” Two patients are interviewed who report mis­ erable experiences with the Center-one claiming that the doctors there had failed to spot an easily visible melanoma, another that as a result of unneces­ sary cataract surgery her “eye ruptured," producing “running pus.” A former employee tells the viewer that Dr. Desnick alters patients’ medical records to show they need cataract surgery-for example, changing the record of one patient’s vision test from 20/30 to 20/80-and that he instructs all members of his staff to use pens of the same color in order to facilitate the alteration of patients’ records.