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Health insurance company denies life-saving treatment – girl dies

Health insurance company denies life-saving treatment – girl dies

Or happy Christmas, the compassionate conservative Republican style


Brother Grim Reaper December 21, 2007
By Brother Grim Reaper
  (Nataline Sarkisyan, 17) + (need for liver transplant) + (CIGNA health insurer) = death
Example of:
  There are real life consequences, including death, for being denied treatment.
  Health insurer overriding treatment diagnosis by patient’s doctor.
  Corporate elite: H. Edward Hanway, Chairman and CEO CIGNA Corporation.

East China News Agency
H. Edward Hanway
Nataline SarkisyanOff Site Link [1] was diagnosed with leukemia at 14. She received a bone marrow transplant on Nov. 21. Complications cause her liver to fail. After initially giving the OK for the liver transplant, CIGNA changed its mind and withdrew approval for the medical procedure her doctors said she needed to live.

CIGNA Corporation earned $1.2 billionOff Site Link [2] on revenues of $16.5 billion in 2006. CIGNA’s Chairman and CEO H. Edward Hanway received $28.8 million compensationOff Site Link [3] for this result. One might think this would be enough money. Nope. The more claims they can deny, the more money they get to keep. So the Nataline Sarkisyan case should come as no surprise.

Nataline Sarkisyan

Family Photograph
Nataline Sarkisyan, 17
  So what was the reason CIGNA gave for denying the claim?

Were the doctors medical quacks? Nope. Dr. Robert VenickOff Site Link [4] and the other staff are well respected.

Was the hospital a badly manage, run down dump? Nope. U.S. News & World Report ranks the UCLA Medical Center, Los AngelesOff Site Link [5] as the third best in the nation.

Robert Venick, MD
Dr. Robert Venick
UCLA Medical Center
Photo by Nikhil Kulkarni
UCLA Medical Plaza
  Was the insurance company broke? Hardly, not with $1.2 billion of revenues.[2]

The answer was – The treatment was experimental.[1] The second favorite excuse of the health insurance business.

Ching. Ching.

  Molly Hennessy-Fiske; Tough calls in transplant case; Los Angeles Times; December 22, 2007; (Accessed December 23, 2007). (print)
  CIGNA Corporation; Investor Relations; CIGNA Corporation; no date; (Accessed December 21, 2007).
  Forbes; H Edward Hanway; no date; Forbes; (Accessed December 21, 2007).
  U.S. News & World Report; America’s Best Hospitals 2007: Honor Roll; U.S. News & World Report; no date; (Accessed December 23, 2007).
  UCLA Health System Transplant Services; Robert Venick; UCLA Health System Transplant Services; no date (Accessed December 23, 2007).
Further Reading:
  Read a discussion about the Nataline Sarkisyan case on the Daily Kos site.
  The California Nurses Association released a statement about Nataline Sarkisyan’ death.

9 Responses

  1. […] Here’s another interesting post I read today by truthmonk […]

  2. […] Here’s another interesting post I read today by truthmonk […]

  3. i cant believe these corporate big wigs!!!!!!! someone should rip out their liver and see how it feels

  4. Lets not rip anybody liver out. We’ll leave that to the Chinese.

    This isn’t all CIGNA fault. It was following the rules.

    You don’t get mad when a dog barks. It’s what dogs do. You don’t get mad when a newspaper blows across the arena making your horse rises up. It’s what horses do. They are prey animals and from their point of view it’s better to be safe than eaten!

    CIGNA is a corporation and was only doing what corporations do – making money. It’s the nature of the beast.

    It is up to society to make the rules, through government, that corporations must follow.

  5. That is so sad! This makes me sick. I can not image losing one of my children.

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