Friday, December 21, 2007

Too Late: Insured Teen Dies After CIGNA Insurance Delays Approval of Liver Transplant

There isn't much more horrible than watching your child die. Reported in today's news is the case of 17-year old Nataline Sarkisyan. She died after her health insurance, CIGNA, refused to approve a liver transplant. Her doctors said the transplant was necessary to treat her leukemia. CIGNA refused and then later relented after protesters showed up outside CIGNA's offices.

Here is the url:

We like to think that playing by the rules and providing for our families provides us protection. Here is a working family that provided health insurance for itself. Given the costs of coverage today, that is no small feat. And yet, hard work and sacrifice and resources weren't enough because greed got in the way.

CIGNA refused to pay for the transplant because "there was a lack of evidence" that it would be effective. But her doctors concluded it was necessary.

As a kid, I grew up reading Mad Magazine, and one of my favorite features was something called, "What They Say/What They Really Mean," or something like that. This one is ripe for the old Mad Mag treatment. What they say is that, "There was a lack of evidence that the treatment would be effective," and what CIGNA really meant was, "Hey we're the insurance company, and we know better than the doctors who have examined and treated Natalie. It's our money, and we don't want to spend it."

Giving it the Mad Mag treatment is probably inappropriate for the simple reason that a family lost their sister and daughter and all the beauty and life and energy that every kid brings into the world. Through the years, I have represented parents who have lost children, and all have told me the same thing.

There is nothing worse than burying your child.

David F. Sugerman
Paul & Sugerman, PC

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