Insurance Approval Was Too Late For Teen - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-22-2007, 12:31 PM   #1
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 24,999
Local Time: 08:06 AM
Insurance Approval Was Too Late For Teen



Bereaved family to sue insurer after dispute over liver transplant
Approval came too late for teen

By Alicia Chang, Associated Press | December 22, 2007

LOS ANGELES - The family of a 17-year-old leukemia patient said yesterday it would sue Cigna Corp. over her death, asserting the health insurance company's initial refusal to pay for a liver transplant contributed to her death.

"They took my daughter away from me," said Nataline Sarkisyan's father, Krikor, with tears in his eyes at a news conference at his lawyer's office.

The Philadelphia-based insurer had initially refused to pay for the procedure, saying it was experimental. The company reversed the decision Thursday as about 150 nurses and community members rallied outside of its office in Glendale in suburban Los Angeles. Nataline died just hours later.

The insurer "maliciously killed" Nataline because it did not want to bear the expense of her transplant and aftercare, said family lawyer Mark Geragos. He did not say when or in what court he would file the civil lawsuit.

Geragos also said he would ask the district attorney's office to press murder or manslaughter charges against Cigna, an allegation that one legal expert described as difficult to prove.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney declined to comment, saying it would be inappropriate to do so until Geragos submits evidence supporting his request.

The family's "loss is immeasurable, and our thoughts and prayers are with them," Cigna said in a news release yesterday. "We deeply hope that the outpouring of concern, care and love that are being expressed for Nataline's family help them at this time."

Nataline was diagnosed with leukemia at 14. Her cancer went into remission after two years of chemotherapy treatment but it returned last summer.

She received a bone marrow transplant from her brother the day before Thanksgiving but later developed a complication that caused her liver to fail. She was in a vegetative state for some time, her mother Hilda said.

Nataline was taken off life support at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center on Thursday, her mother said. The teen died within the hour.

In a Dec. 11 letter to Cigna, four doctors had 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 letter sent by the UCLA doctors questioned the company's explanation that it does not cover experimental or unproven treatments, saying Nataline's case was neither.

One of Nataline's doctors, Robert Venick, declined to comment on her case. UCLA Medical Center staff refused to make her other doctors available for comment.

Despite the reversal of its decision, Cigna said in an e-mail statement before she died that there was a lack of medical evidence showing the transplant would work in Nataline's case.

The case raised the question in medical circles of whether a liver transplant is a viable option for a leukemia patient because of the immune-system-suppressing medication such patients must take to prevent organ rejection. Such medication, while preserving the transplanted liver, could make the cancer worse.

Transplantation is not an option for leukemia patients because the immunosuppressant drugs "tend to increase the risk and growth of any tumors," said Dr. Stuart Knechtle, who heads the liver transplant program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and was not commenting specifically on Nataline's case.

The procedure "would be futile," he said.

The hospital told Nataline's family on Dec. 14 that a healthy liver was available, but that without Cigna's authorization, the family would have to make a down payment of $75,000, an amount the family could not afford.

The California Nurses Association organized the rally Thursday outside the insurer's offices in Glendale.

Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the nurses group, said in a statement that the outcome was "a horrific tragedy that demonstrates what is so fundamentally wrong with our health care system today."

"Insurance companies have a stranglehold on our health," she said. "Their first priority is to make profits for their shareholders - and the way they do that is by denying care."

"Every politician who thinks the answer to our healthcare crisis is more insurance should stop and think about Nataline Sarkisyan," DeMoro said. "Insurance is not care. Paying for insurance coverage is not the same as assuring you will receive appropriate care, even when recommended by a physician as it was for Nataline."
__________________

__________________
MrsSpringsteen is online now  
Old 12-22-2007, 06:12 PM   #2
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
BluRmGrl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Leather Heaven
Posts: 7,808
Local Time: 09:06 AM
After my debacle with health insurance last year and the financial ruin it nearly caused us, I certainly am not a supporter of their cost-saving measures but I do have to wonder: in this case, would it have been a risk worth taking or just a study in futility to put this young girl's already-compromised body & immune system through the trauma of an organ transplant? Would it have reversed her vegatative state? Would it have returned her to health or just given her the chance to remain on life support for unknown months or years?

Like I said before - I'm certainly not happy with how it seems our treatment is often only acceptable if it's not too costly to our healthcare insurers. I'm just trying to see both sides of this.
__________________

__________________
BluRmGrl is offline  
Old 12-22-2007, 06:29 PM   #3
The Fly
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 89
Local Time: 01:06 PM
Cigna's profits for 2007 were 1.2 billion. I used to work in the heath care industry and getting an insurance company to pay for any medical care is like pulling teeth. The people that didn't have insurance got their health care faster. Six UCLA doctors begged Cigna to approve the transplant and there was a liver ready for her. UCLA is a great medical school. Anyway her brother has a myspace page and he is listed as Kobe. We need universal health care in America. I'm an Army brat and when I was growing up I got great health and dental care that was provided by the military for my dad's 20 year service. It was socialized medicine and the Army doctors were the best. Of course they were drafted.
__________________
watergate is offline  
Old 12-22-2007, 08:10 PM   #4
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
the iron horse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: in a glass of CheerWine
Posts: 3,252
Local Time: 08:06 AM
very sad
__________________
the iron horse is offline  
Old 12-22-2007, 09:09 PM   #5
Blue Crack Addict
 
deep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: A far distance down.
Posts: 28,501
Local Time: 05:06 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by watergate
Cigna's profits for 2007 were 1.2 billion.
Good for them

the job of the insurance company is to reduce risks
and structure policies to limit payouts.
__________________
deep is offline  
Old 12-22-2007, 10:21 PM   #6
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,297
Local Time: 08:06 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by BluRmGrl
After my debacle with health insurance last year and the financial ruin it nearly caused us, I certainly am not a supporter of their cost-saving measures but I do have to wonder: in this case, would it have been a risk worth taking or just a study in futility to put this young girl's already-compromised body & immune system through the trauma of an organ transplant? Would it have reversed her vegatative state? Would it have returned her to health or just given her the chance to remain on life support for unknown months or years?
It almost doesn't matter, because this is a total PR disaster for CIGNA regardless of what the girl's chances were. They've already lost the battle and there will be a huge payout, probably a settlement. They can't be cheap because cases like these are the bread and butter of a jury trial and they know it. The criminal charges are the stuff of Law & Order, but nonetheless may be interesting to follow.
__________________
anitram is online now  
Old 12-24-2007, 02:51 AM   #7
Refugee
 
dazzlingamy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The city of blinding lights and amazing coffee - Melbourne.
Posts: 2,468
Local Time: 12:06 AM
but seriously, would you not try anything to save your child? And that fact that your insurance company says 'no' because they don't want to pay for it. They put profit above lives and its completely fucking wrong.
Maybe the liver transplant would fail as well, but really, why give up without a massive fighting chance, at least then there is no bitterness of 'i could have done more'
__________________
dazzlingamy is offline  
Old 12-24-2007, 12:33 PM   #8
Blue Crack Addict
 
Liesje's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: In the dog house
Posts: 19,557
Local Time: 08:06 AM
I really don't understand insurance companies. I mean, even if they are all about profits, they still confuse me. I know someone who has this kidney disease. He's had two kidney transplants. After a few years, his disease attacks the new kidney and eventually kills it. Then he is on dialysis for a year or so until he is perfectly healthy (otherwise) and ready for a new kidney from a friend or relative. There is a new drug that could actually treat his disease and his specialists at Mayo want him to try, but the insurance company won't pay for it. They would rather have to pay for parts of his transplant surgeries and all the equipment and treatment he needs while on dialysis (he does it himself 4 times a day) instead of just pay for part of the drugs that might STOP the transplants and dialysis...makes no sense....
__________________
Liesje is offline  
Old 12-24-2007, 01:35 PM   #9
BVS
Blue Crack Supplier
 
BVS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: between my head and heart
Posts: 40,697
Local Time: 07:06 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje
I really don't understand insurance companies. I mean, even if they are all about profits, they still confuse me. I know someone who has this kidney disease. He's had two kidney transplants. After a few years, his disease attacks the new kidney and eventually kills it. Then he is on dialysis for a year or so until he is perfectly healthy (otherwise) and ready for a new kidney from a friend or relative. There is a new drug that could actually treat his disease and his specialists at Mayo want him to try, but the insurance company won't pay for it. They would rather have to pay for parts of his transplant surgeries and all the equipment and treatment he needs while on dialysis (he does it himself 4 times a day) instead of just pay for part of the drugs that might STOP the transplants and dialysis...makes no sense....
It's all about covering their ass. They can't pay for a drug unless it's approved of by FDA their own research etc... Otherwise they could be part of the lawsuit that someone may bring up if this person was killed using the drug.
__________________

__________________
BVS is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:06 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com