Can Any Good Come Out Of The Nataline Sarkisyan Tragedy? Hello Iowa

Many C&Lers have followed the horrifying story of Nataline Sarkisyan. She was denied a liver transplant by health care giant CIGNA because they c

Many C&Lers have followed the horrifying story of Nataline Sarkisyan. She was denied a liver transplant by health care giant CIGNA because they called it "experimental."

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CIGNA has ignored this medical decision and calls the transplant “experimental” as justification for denying the treatment. CIGNA’s refusal of Nataline’s liver transplant—overruling the urgent appeals of an array of doctors and nurses—is indicative of the failures of the new healthcare plan sponsored by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Fabian Nunez. That plan, which is actively supported by CIGNA, requires every single Californian to purchase insurance products from companies like CIGNA, but does not address the problem of denial of care evident in this situation.

After a protest led by the California Nurses Association along with family and friends turned the heat up on CIGNA, they finally approved the life saving procedure, but...

In a stunning turn around, insurance giant CIGNA has capitulated to community demands, and protests that the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee helped to generate, and agreed to a critically needed liver transplant for Nataline Sarkisyan, a 17-year-old girl in the intensive care unit at UCLA Medical Center...

...they acted too late and she died.

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee today blasted insurance giant CIGNA for failing to approve a liver transplant one week earlier for listen to 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan, who tragically died last night just hours after CIGNA relented and agreed to the procedure following a massive national outcry.

An editorial by the Houston Chronical called CIGNA's decision to deny the teen a liver transplant until it was too late "Heartless."

As California and the nation debate how to institute universal health insurance coverage for citizens, the Sarkisyan case indicates that more must be done than simply covering everyone with a policy. All too frequently, insurance company bureaucrats are making medical judgments that should be left in the hands of a patient's physician...

If the staff at the UCLA transplant unit approved Nataline's procedure, that should have been the end of the discussion. For universal health coverage to be meaningful, such decisions must be taken out of the hands of insurance adjustors and placed with an impartial arbiter whose interest is the welfare of the patient rather than a corporation's balance sheet.


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Will the tragedy that struck Nataline Sarkisyan and her family because health care giant CIGNA initially refused a life saving medical treatment become an important story for the voters in Iowa as they begin the process that will determine which candidate will represent each party in the upcoming Presidential election?

Republican voters may face the same situation as the Sarkisyan's. The CIGNA's of the world could care less if a family filled out a GOP loyalty oath or did the Pledge of allegiance to President Bush...

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