Saturday, December 22, 2007

17 Year Old Girl Dies After Insurance Company Interferes With Doctors Care

Another Story of Legal Murder By An American Corporation

This comes just after Bush vetoed an expansion of S-Chip (twice).

This also comes at a time when Americans are close to crowning Hillary Clinton as their next leader...even though she is one of the top recipients of corrupt Lobbying money from the health insurance industry and the drug companies. And she is supposed to reform healthcare? She is supposed to be the "change" candidate?

This is why I believe American voters are politically/intellectually lazy. It's much easier for Americans to be told how to vote (by the Corporate media) than to do their homework and vote for their best interests. This kind of laziness is the reason why the Country is in the hole that it's in now. And with Clinton, the hole will only get deeper. She will sell you out to the Corporations completely....and send you right down the river with no paddle and no life jacket...

I just hope that the people of Iowa are paying attention....

Saturday December 22, 2007
The Guardian

The family of a California teenager plan to sue her health insurer which refused to pay for a liver transplant until hours before and she died on Thursday night.
Her family's lawyer, Mark Geragos, will ask the Los Angeles district attorney to press murder or manslaughter charges against Cigna HealthCare, arguing that the firm "maliciously killed" Nataline Sarkisyan by its reluctance to pay for her treatment. The company reversed its stance after protesters called for a rethink, but the decision came too late.

The 17-year-old from Glendale, California, had been in a coma for weeks after complications following a bone marrow transplant to counter leukaemia.
After the operation, her liver failed and doctors referred her for an emergency transplant. Although she was fully insured and had a matching donor, Cigna refused to pay on the grounds that her healthcare plan "does not cover experimental, investigational and unproven services".

Cigna's rejection on December 11 led Sarkisyan's doctors at UCLA medical centre, including the head of its transplant unit, to write a letter to protest that the treatment which they proposed was neither experimental nor unproven. They called on the firm to urgently review its decision.

In the absence of a response from Cigna, doctors told the Sarkisyan family that the only alternative would be for the family to pay. But they could not afford the immediate down payment of $75,000 (£38,000).

The family, backed by nurses, relatives and Sarkisyan's friends, mounted a protest of 150 people outside Cigna's Glendale offices. "Cigna cannot decide who is going to live and who is going to die," the teenager's mother, Hilda Sarkisyan, told the crowd.

The demo was amplified by an internet campaign orchestrated by the liberal Daily Kos website and other blogs that bombarded Cigna's HQ in Philadephia. In the middle of the rally, a note was handed to Mrs Sarkisyan saying that Cigna had decided to reverse its decision.

"Cigna HealthCare has decided to make an exception in this rare and unusual case and we will provide coverage should she proceed with the requested liver transplant," it said in a statement.
The news drew cheers from the crowd, but they quickly grew sombre when they heard Sarkisyan's condition had deteriorated. A few hours later, her life support was switched off.

"She passed away, and the insurance [company] is responsible for this," Mrs Sarkisyan told the Los Angeles Daily News.

"Why did it take public humiliation for a multibillion-dollar insurance company to force them to provide appropriate medical care?" asked Charles Idelson of the California Nurses Association.

"This is what's wrong with our health system - insurers decide treatment, not doctors."

The protests over Sarkisyan's case point to growing public disenchantment with the healthcare system in America.

Politicians vying to be the Democratic candidate for the presidential race next year have prepared plans for reform to bring the 47 million uninsured Americans into the healthcare net, and to improve terms for those already insured like Sarkisyan.

The subject was given an added boost this summer by Michael Moore's documentary on the state of the American health service, Sicko.

Moore refers to the case of Sarkisyan on his website, under the simple banner: "Justice delayed is justice denied."

Following the teenager's death, Cigna issued another statement yesterday.

"Their loss is immeasurable, and our thoughts and prayers are with them," it said. "We deeply hope that the outpouring of concern, care and love that are being expressed for Nataline's family help them at this time."

The company recently posted figures for its third-quarter performance this year, which showed profits up 22%. Next year it expects to earn an income of up to $1.2bn.


Also See Coverage from Rawstory

Nurses Association Says Cigna Should Have Listened To Her Doctors and Approved The Transplant


WNG said...

I feel like I should be stunned and saddened. I'm just saddened. Why is tragedy not surprising to anyone? WHY are we not doing anything about it???

ms-teacher said...

when I gave birth to my oldest, my obstetrician wanted me to stay in for an extra day. This was 20 years ago, when insurance companies routinely insisted that mothers be released from the hospital the day after delivery for uncomplicated deliveries. My delivery had minor complications and that is why my doctor wanted me to stay in an extra day. The insurance company refused to pay for an extra day, so I was sent home a day earlier than his recommendation. Fortunately, nothing bad happened, but it still amazes me that a faceless person at an insurance company can override the recommendations of a medical doctor.

rikyrah said...

It's murder. Plain and simple.

E. Griffin, NJ said...

It is sad that people who call themselves Americans can be bought into making life & death decisions regarding the needs of their fellow men.

How do these "faceless" people on the other end of the phone at these major insurance companies sleep at night?

Its so wrong.

Anonymous said...

what people do not understand is preventive medicne is no medical care at all period. most clinic or hospt are run by big major insurence company and thay set the rules and how what they are going to allowed base on no medical input by medical staff or the doctor treating the patients.

Darvin said...

I found your blog rather interesting. Cigna Insurance is one of the few insurance companies which does not have too many negative reports. It seems to pay out the reimbursement in time, in full amount. The customer service is also impressively good. though displays people’s dissatisfaction with the company. Obviously, there are some gaps in the way the company provides its services.