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Thread: California teen's family sues Cigna over transplant

  1. #1
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Jul 2006

    Angry California teen's family sues Cigna over transplant

    Calif. teen's family sues Cigna over transplant - Yahoo! News

    LOS ANGELES The family of a 17-year-old leukemia patient has sued health insurance giant Cigna Corp. for her death in 2007 after the company initially refused to pay for a liver transplant.

    The lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court by the family's attorney, Mark Geragos, alleges breach of contract, unfair business practices and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit accuses Cigna of delaying and rejecting valid claims, which resulted in the wrongful death of Nataline Sarkisyan.

    The Philadelphia-based insurer eventually approved the transplant after Sarkisyan's family held a rally outside Cigna's suburban Los Angeles office. Nataline, however, died hours after the approval was secured.

    Chris Curran, a spokesman for Cigna, said the company empathizes with the family but feels the lawsuit is without merit. Curran said Cigna volunteered to pay for the procedure out of its own pocket and not the employer's.

    "This decision was made despite the fact that Cigna had no obligation to do so and despite concluding, based on the information available, that the treatment would be unproven and ineffective and therefore experimental and not covered by the employer's benefit plan," Curran said, reading from a statement.

    But Charles Idelson, a spokesman for the California Nurses Association, said insurance companies are "in business to provide profits for shareholders, not to provide care."

    "Nataline Sarkisyan's case serves as a tragic poster child for everything that's wrong with our insurance based health care system," he said. "Why did it take public humiliation for Cigna Corporation to approve a transplant?"

    Nataline was diagnosed with leukemia at 14 and received a bone marrow transplant from her brother the day before Thanksgiving 2007. A complication, however, caused the teen's liver to fail.
    The family had asked Cigna to pay for a liver transplant but the insurer refused, calling the procedure experimental.

    In a subsequent letter to Cigna, four doctors from Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA Medical Center appealed to the insurer to reconsider. They said patients in similar situations who undergo transplants have a six-month survival rate of about 65 percent.
    The insurer eventually reversed the decision while about 150 nurses and community members rallied outside its office in Glendale.

    By this time, however, the teen had fallen into a vegetative state and was taken off life support. She died within the hour.

  2. #2
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    fellow traveller


    fucking insurance companies. i have a special kind of hatred for them. but what needs to change are the laws governing them, not just a civil suit that wil maybe give the family millions but that in the long term will only end up costing people by raising insurance prices and making plans even more restrictive.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

  3. #3
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    in a van down by the river


    i remember hearing about this. Just an awful thing to happen to this family
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
    Lighten Up Francis WCG

  4. #4
    Elite Member Rica's Avatar
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    Apr 2008


    things like this make me appriciate my family's wealth; my cousin was sick his entire life with cystic fibrosis, and not once was he denyed medical treatment because of our grandfathers wealth. not everyone is so lucky

  5. #5
    Elite Member Shinola's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Smokin' with your baby


    Unquestionably, the insurer is evil. But the medical providers also held off on a life-or-death procedure because of money. The hospital told the family that if they could cough up a $75,000 down payment, the liver transplant could proceed.

    So it boils down to the fact that in our society, medicine is a business first. It is about health and people a distant second. We already knew that, but this is an especially sad case.
    Posted from my fucking iPhone

  6. #6
    Elite Member RevellingInSane's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Where Being PC is understood as a fault!


    Healthcare in the US definitely should be reformed. Insurance companies, hospitals, and even some doctors, are focusing on revenue instead of people. I have a special hatred for insurance companies.

  7. #7
    Elite Member katerpillar's Avatar
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    May 2008


    Things like this make me so glad I live in Australia, where you don't have to pay for transplants, chemo, or any hospital treatment you require. Poor girl, I hope her family win this lawsuit.

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