Seventeen year old Nataline Sarkisyan died this week after her health care provider denied to cover a potentially life-saving liver transplant. Doctors at UCLA decided that Nataline needed a liver transplant to survive but CIGNA denied payment stating that they do not cover “experimental, investigational, or unproven services” and that there was a lack of medical evidence that the procedure would actually work despite UCLA doctors claiming a success rate of 65 percent. I think we can more accurately restate CIGNA’s reasoning as “We do not want to pay for Nataline’s liver transplant and care resulting from it, so we will allow her to die.” After around 150 medical staff and friends of Nataline protested outside of CIGNA’s offices, they did reverse their decision, however it was too late. With universal health care we will no longer have to wait for insurance providers to approve life saving medical procedures and I wouldn’t be writing about Nataline now. Nataline’s family are planning to sue CIGNA and are considering asking the district attorney to charge CIGNA for manslaughter or murder.
Transplant Decision Too Late, Teen Dies – [CBS News]