Update from yesterday's story.....Procedure was too experimental said Cigna and lacked medical evidence...sad to watch the video as the parents rejoiced on Cigna changing their minds, but only a few minutes later the hospital calls to tell them their daughter had take a turn for the worse and passed on later that evening...and this will sadly be another legal case in healthcare..BD 

Krikor Sarkisyan, holds a photograph of his daughter Nataline, 17, who died after being denied a liver imagetransplant from her insurance company.

Cigna refused to pay for a 17-year-old leukemia patient's liver transplant until the family staged a protest Thursday, but Nataline Sarkisyan died shortly after the reversal.

"She had a 65% chance of survival if she had gotten the liver," Hilda Sarkisyan said from her home this morning.  Doctors at UCLA sent a letter Dec. 11 to Cigna emphasizing that Nataline was eligible for a transplant, Hilda Sarkisyan said. But Cigna refused to pay, citing a lack of medical evidence the procedure would help.

While it isn't clear that Cigna could have saved Nataline by approving the transplant earlier, Idelson said, the insurer should have trusted her doctors.  "The transplant was recommended by the medical professionals at the bedside," Idelson said. "They should have been listened to."

Family blames HMO for teen's death - Los Angeles Times


  1. Did anyone tell the Doctors, Nurses, hospital administrators, or hospital that they couldn't perform the procedure? Not that I'm aware of. Yes they are a business and couldn't "afford" to do it. Well Cigna is a business too. My question is "How could the Doctor's let her die?". Can someone answer that?

  2. When are people going to get real about health care coverage. Someone said the transplant had a 65% success rate...if they understood the entire situation they would know that was a 65% chance of living for an additional six months. Not survival for the remainder of an average life span (or even a few more years). People complain about the cost of care and insurance rates going up. Well when people expect everything to be done at any cost regardless of expected outcomes then there will never be such a thing as affordable health care for everyone. The child did not do well after the first transplant. Why continue to make the child suffer another transplant because her family will grieve at her loss? This is life. It is heart breaking. Of course we would all like to have six months or even one day with someone we love, especially our child. But is it humane to keep putting the child through these procedures to prolong your loss??? CIGNA did not kill this child. The child was dying. It's not fair, it's difficult, it's painful. I hope the family can find in their hearts the gratitude for having been blessed with this child and realize they had choices. CIGNA did not deny the procedure. They denied coverage of the procedure due to it being experimental, unproven and not meeting what most transplant facilities make their determination on (as noted by UCSF): at least a 50% chance of survival for at least 5 years. If the parents wanted six more months with their child no one was stopping them from having the transplant done. They had every right to pay for it. Or maybe all those protesters should have given their money! Think hard all you protesters... If you knew the survival expectancy was at most six months and you knew that this child has suffered through one transplant (a very difficult surgery for the patient), would you all hand over a $1000 each to cover the costs?? Even $500?? Everyone upset about this could have easily paid the thousands of dollars to cover this unproven and experimental transplant if you really wanted to help this family.

  3. Last time I looked we were still in the business of saving human lives, correct? It's a gamble as we don't know how it will work as each body is different. We can gather all the human body intelligence possible, but again there are those stories of folks beating the odds too, so it's hard to rationalize with data, myself I feel every attempt to save a life should be exhausted, and once it touches your life or that of a loved one, it will immediately become very personal.

  4. I will never understand how insurance companies and others will allow seventy year old men to have double lung transplants and not allow the healthcare professionals to save the lives of the young? Anyone has the right to try and save their child. We help the malnourished in Darfur, we help the oppressed and not our own children. It doesn't make any sense. When will CEO's of large insurance companies wake up. Only when one of their own are on the operating table. It's time to reform healthcare in the U.S. Amen.


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