Insurance okays transplant as teen dies

Filed under: Teens, Health & Safety: Babies, In The News

Nataline Sarkisyan had leukemia. I say "had" because it is no longer an issue for her. She passed away last week. She had undergone a bone marrow transplant from her brother, but a complications with her liver meant she needed a transplant. Her insurance company, however, decided that there wasn't enough evidence showing the transplant would work in her case. So they denied the claim.

She fell into a coma and died, just hours after the insurance grudgingly reversed its position and approved the procedure. Earlier in the day, about 150 nurses and students protested outside the insurance company's offices, presumably prompting the company's change of heart. Unfortunately, it was too late. Despite CIGNA's gracious decision to "make an exception in this rare and unusual case and... provide coverage should she proceed with the requested liver transplant," Nataline passed away later that evening.

I'm no expert on insurance, but it seems to me that when faced with a choosing between paying for a procedure that might save someone's life and just letting them die, one would go for the former. Alas, insurance companies don't seem to be in the business of saving lives; they're more interested in generating profits. I'm not sure that socialized medicine is the perfect answer, but I'll bet there are a lot of parents -- Nataline's included -- who would say it couldn't be any worse.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.