Dr. Nancy Snyderman, TV's best-known medical reporter and a network news veteran of nearly three decades, has been dropped by NBC News. Her abrupt departure follows an appearance during a Feb. 22 "Nightly News" segment about peanut allergies, in which she seemed somewhat disoriented and stumbled over her words.
NBC declined to offer reasons for Snyderman's departure.
In a statement, Snyderman said, in part, "I am stepping down from my position as Chief Medical Editor at NBC News."Critics' picks50 best LI entertainment momentsMORE FROM OUR CRITICVerne Gay's latest
She added, "Covering the Ebola epidemic last fall in Liberia, and then becoming part of the story upon my return to the U.S., contributed to my decision that now is the time to return to academic medicine. I will be shortly taking up a faculty position at a major U.S. medical school."
According to a network statement, “Throughout her career with NBC News, Dr. Nancy Snyderman has provided her expertise on countless health and medical topics that are vitally important to our audience. She’s been a valuable voice both on air and in our newsroom, and we wish her all the best.”
Reached at her home earlier Thursday, Snyderman referred questions to NBC.
Her departure is the second major blow to NBC News in as many months -- "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams was suspended for six months on Feb. 10, following his embellished story about traveling in a helicopter in the early days of the Gulf War that was brought down by an RPG.
Snyderman, 62, was forced to apologize on "The Today Show" in mid-December for earlier violating the terms of her quarantine for Ebola exposure. That apology was preceded by a month and half leave from NBC's air -- not technically called a suspension at the time, but rather family leave.
After returning from an African trip covering the outbreak of the Ebola virus, Snyderman went into quarantine, but was later spotted at a local restaurant near her home in New Jersey. She was reprimanded, while NBC News president Deborah Turness said in an internal memo that Snyderman and her crew were told to "take some time with their families and friends to help restore some normalcy to their lives," while praising Snyderman's work from Liberia as "first class, firsthand reporting from the front lines of this tragic and monumental story."
It was unclear what determination NBC News made about the Feb. 22 incident -- a story about a patch to help with peanut allergies -- or why the network had taken a week and a half to make a decision, if indeed her departure was related to the incident. Snyderman was largely coherent during the report -- in which she spoke to the anchor, Carl Quintanilla.
Nevertheless, Twitter quickly began to speculate, while a post on Gawker the following day continued: “So what was up with Nancy Snyderman? Was she drunk?”
Snyderman joined NBC News in 2006, following a near two-decade run at ABC News.
She had been an executive at Johnson & Johnson, overseeing consumer education, before joining NBC. According to her NBC bio: “Snyderman has reported on wide-ranging medical topics affecting both men and women and has traveled the world extensively, reporting from many of the world's most troubled areas. In 2010, Snyderman traveled to Haiti where she reported on the devastation from the earthquake. Snyderman is on staff in the Department of the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania.“
Her full statement reads, “I stepped out of the OR a few years ago and it is now time for me to return to my roots, so I am stepping down from my position as Chief Medical Editor at NBC News. Covering the Ebola epidemic last fall in Liberia, and then becoming part of the story upon my return to the U.S., contributed to my decision that now is the time to return to academic medicine. I will be shortly taking up a faculty position at a major U.S. medical school. More needs to be done to communicate medicine and science to our viewers and citizens, especially in times of crisis, and with my experiences in the field and on air, that is going to be a priority for me. I have loved my nine years at NBC and I am proud of the work my team has done. Very few people get the chance to combine two professions and I have appreciated the chance to inform the public about medical updates and the plight of so many in other countries. Every moment has been an honor.”