What sucks is what Cigna did to 17 year old Nataline Sarkisyan of Glendale, California. She passed away Thursday within hours of her insurance provider Cigna Health Care’s approval of a life liver transplant to treat her leukemia.
The transplant surgery was originally approved by Cigna according to the teen’s mother. When Sarkisya suffered a lung infection following a bone marrow transplant the company decided to decline the transplant. The insurance company is quoted as describing the treatment as being “too experimental” when denying the teen this life saving procedure. They were once again given the approval just hours before Sarkisya lost her fight for life.
How exactly is ANYTHING too experimental when trying to save a life? I can understand the business of health insurances companies.
If her Doctor’s signed off on a letter to Cigna saying that Nataline needs this liver transplant to treat her leukemia, WHY would Cigna deny that claim?
Attorney Mark Geragos says he plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a 17-year-old girl who died just hours after her health insurer agreed to pay for a liver transplant.
The parents of Nataline Sarkisyan removed her from life support Thursday.
“Now we have to start the healing process to try to figure out what happened and why it happened,” said a friend of the family.
Nataline had been in a vegetative state for three weeks, her mother Hilda Sarkisyan told the Daily News.
CIGNA initially declined to pay for the transplant for Nataline because her plan did not cover “experimental, investigational and unproven services,” her doctors said.
This is a statement from Dr. John J. Ryan, founder of IADMD.org:
“This is a tragic and profound example of how the system failed this family. The system allows insurance companies to dictate payment, but, as with most families, Nataline’s family relied on their health care benefits to pay for her treatment. In this case a team of medical doctors urged the liver transplant and the insurance company at first denied it. Medical decisions by doctors should be honored and covered by insurance companies.
This is just another example of how insurance companies routinely withhold needed coverage that sustains or prolongs life. This is why the system needs to change. We should no longer tolerate a system that allows bean counters to decide what treatments should be covered. No matter what lawsuits come, this horrendous loss of life occured because the system is broken.
IADMD has a plan to put two dentists and two physicians in front of every state’s insurance commissioner to contribute medical protocols that affect insurance company policies’ coverages, limits, conditions and exclusions. IADMD.org is fighting to reform health care so that doctors are back in charge of health care decisions and payments so that people are never sacrificed to save money. My heart and prayers go out to Nataline and her family and friends.”
Dr. Ryan is seeking support from the presidential candidates to review the IADMD health care plan where this never would’ve happened. He says there ought to be a “Nataline Law” so that this never happens again.
Dr. Ryan is available for interviews. For more information, please visit www.IADMD.org