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(***CIGNA response added below on 12/23***)How unfortunate it is that it takes the death of such a young individual, Nataline Sarkisyan, to get people to pull their heads out of the sand and realize how unfair and unjust the health care system is in the United States. We get Los Angeles television stations in my area and it goes without saying that this local, heartbreaking story has been topping all our newscasts. As horrible as it sounds to say, I am glad to see that this case and its dire results due to CIGNA’s horrific money-grubbing choices, is also getting the national (and international) attention it needs in order to garner action by those fed up with the constant stream of people dying much sooner than they need to–all in the name of insurance companies making a profit.

I blogged about Nataline’s passing shortly after hearing the news (including informational links and a video by her brother), but so much more information and responses are coming out, so I thought I’d create this blog entry to list them. I’m including in the California Nurses Association section below, a video they put together focusing on the fight on Nataline’s behalf on the day she died. The first video posted here is a CNN report. I’ll add more links and videos as I run across them.

Too late for transplant“-CNN

California Nurses Association (CNA) web site:

Real People DENIED Real Healthcare: Nataline Sarkisyan

CIGNA 12/21/07 statement-Press-Telegram

“Our deepest sympathies are with Nataline’s family. Their loss is immeasurable, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.

“We deeply hope that the outpouring of concern, care and love that are being expressed for Nataline’s family help them at this time.”

What you “deeply hope” CIGNA, is that your callous disregard for human life exhibited in this case, and most assuredly countless others, does not come back to bite you in the ass. I, on the other hand, hope it most certainly does! Please allow me to take the first bite, on behalf of Nataline and all the others you have sent to an early grave.

Michael Moore web site:

December 22nd, 2007 4:19 pm

“Today I call upon the Los Angeles district attorney to investigate and consider bringing criminal homicide charges against CIGNA Health Care for their role in the death of Nataline Sarkisyan. If their decision was one of incompetence, then manslaughter charges should be filed. If it was a premeditated decision — where CIGNA knew in advance that Nataline would most likely die — then their corporate officers should be arrested and the full extent of the law brought to bear upon them.

“This is one more example why we not only need universal health care for all our citizens, but also to eliminate the concept of private, profit-driven ‘health care.’ Nearly every candidate running for president has a plan that leaves companies like CIGNA in charge. This must not happen and I call upon the democratic frontrunners to show some spine and say so.”

UCLA health care web site (Nataline had been a patient at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA) :

Everyone at UCLA Medical Center — the administration, physicians and staff — are profoundly saddened by the death of Nataline Sarkisyan, as we are by the death of any child in our care. Our hearts go out to the Sarkisyan family and to everyone touched by her life.

“In a Dec. 11 letter to Cigna, four doctors had appealed to the insurer to reconsider. They said patients in similar situations who undergo transplants have a six-month survival rate of about 65 percent.

The letter sent by the UCLA doctors questioned the company’s explanation that it does not cover experimental or unproven treatments, saying Nataline’s case was neither.

One of Nataline’s doctors, Robert Venick, declined to comment on her case. UCLA Medical Center staff refused to make her other doctors available for comment.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

***ADDED 12/24/07***

CIGNA defends actions over denial of transplant-CBS2.com

In a memo sent to Cigna employees today, Cigna President David Cordani and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeffrey Kang said the company consulted its own experts who doubted the effectiveness of the procedure.

“In this case, rather than going through our standard method of appeal, we went directly to not one, but two independent experts in the field who agreed that the procedure in question, given the patient’s particular circumstances, would not have been an effective or appropriate treatment,” the pair wrote in the memo.

Sniffin’ out the info

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