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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Max Gomez, Longtime TV Medical Reporter, Dies at 72

Max Gomez, an award-winning medical and science journalist who delivered knowledgeable studies for greater than 40 years on TV stations in New York and Philadelphia, most just lately throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, died on Sept. 2 at his house in Manhattan. He was 72.

His companion, Amy Levin, mentioned the trigger was head and neck most cancers, with which he had been identified 4 years in the past.

Billed as “Dr. Max,” Mr. Gomez introduced an easygoing gravitas to reporting on topics like vaccinations, knee replacements, prostate most cancers, colonoscopies, sickle cell anemia and, when he himself contracted them, Lyme illness and the MRSA an infection. One among his studies on Alzheimer’s illness centered on his father, a doctor, who was swindled as his reminiscence deserted him.

Dr. Gomez had been chief medical correspondent at WCBS, Channel 2, in New York Metropolis since 2007 and made his final look there in March 2022. He additionally labored at WNBC, Channel 4, and WNEW, Channel 5 (now WNYW), in addition to KYW, Channel 3, in Philadelphia.

“What he did greatest was to care deeply and mix that with having the ability to clarify complicated issues so properly that common of us may perceive them,” Dan Forman, a former managing editor of the Channel 2 information division, mentioned by cellphone. “And he would activate it by serving to viewers discover the assistance they wanted.”

Dr. Gomez received seven native Emmy Awards in New York and two in Philadelphia, and a few of his work was seen nationally, on the CBS Information program “48 Hours” and on NBC Information. He was additionally a semifinalist in NASA’s journalist-in-space program, which was suspended indefinitely after the shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986, and a co-author of three books, amongst them “Cells Are the New Remedy: The Reducing-Edge Medical Breakthroughs That Are Remodeling Our Well being” (2017, with Dr. Robin L. Smith).

He was a daily presence on Channel 2 from the beginning of the pandemic, when there have been only a few identified Covid instances in the US. For 2 years, as he handled most cancers, he defined the medical points dealing with viewers; confirmed how the coronavirus mutates; and sorted by way of an infection knowledge and research.

He was not a medical physician — he had a doctorate in neuroscience — and he and the stations the place he labored have been generally criticized for referring to him as Dr. Max Gomez. “Max doesn’t inform folks he’s an M.D., nor can we,” Paula Walker, then an assistant information director at Channel 4, instructed The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1991. “In our estimation, he’s most likely extra knowledgeable than the common well being reporter.”

Maximo Marcelino Gomez III was born on Aug. 9, 1951, in Havana and moved to Miami along with his household three years later. His father was an obstetrician and gynecologist; his mom, Concepción (Nespral) Gomez, labored for Cubana Airways, Cuba’s nationwide provider, and later for Avianca, the most important airline in Colombia.

After graduating from Princeton College in 1973 with a bachelor’s diploma in geosciences, Dr. Gomez earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Wake Forest College College of Medication in 1978. He then turned a Nationwide Institutes of Well being postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller College in Manhattan.

Whereas finding out there, he selected to not pursue a profession in analysis or academia, however somewhat to search for work within the media that will make use of his scientific background.

“Once I first determined to go after tv, it was as a result of I assumed that if I didn’t, 20 years from now I’d be saying, ‘What if?’” he instructed The Philadelphia Every day Information in 1985.

He added: “Why tv? Effectively, if I mentioned cash and ego aren’t a part of it, then I’d be mendacity to you or to myself.”

He contacted Mark Monsky, the information director of Channel 5’s “10 O’Clock Information,” who gave him a one-month tryout in July 1980 that was a four-year keep. Whereas there, Dr. Gomez was one of many first tv reporters to deal with the AIDS disaster, in line with Ms. Levin, who was then a producer on the station.

Dr. Gomez moved to KYW in late 1984 and stayed there for six years. Whereas there, he acquired an award from United Press Worldwide for his documentary on AIDS. He later acquired an award from New York Metropolis’s well being division for his protection of the 9/11 assaults whereas he was working for Channel 4.

“Worry and anxiousness ranges have been uncontrolled within the metropolis, however we have been spending the primary 20 minutes of each broadcast scaring the dwelling daylights out of individuals,” he mentioned in an interview in 2016 for the e-newsletter of CaringKind, an nonprofit Alzheimer’s caregiving group, “after which, as my information director mentioned, on the finish of the present, I had 90 seconds to speak them off the ledge.”

He moved to Channel 2 in 1994 and returned to Channel 4 in 1997 the place, after practically a decade, he was let go when the station minimize prices. He got here again to Channel 2 in 2007.

Along with Ms. Levin, Dr. Gomez is survived by a daughter, Katie Gomez; a son, Max IV; and a brother, George. His marriage to SuElyn Charnesky resulted in divorce.

Within the 1985 Philadelphia Every day Information interview, Dr. Gomez mentioned he seen his function severely: Being on tv, he mentioned, gave him credibility and a serious duty.

“I really feel I owe it to folks to be their first filter,” he mentioned. “So if I’m speaking a few well being treatment, I wish to know the place has this data been printed. I current one of the best product I can. I do know that it’s scientifically correct.”

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