A 17-year old girl suffering from leukemia died yesterday in the UCLA hospital a few hours after her insurance company, CIGNA, approved a liver transplant that had been denied before due to the lack of evidence that the transplant would help her condition. Her parents removed her from life support, because they deemed her condition as “hopeless.”
CIGNA initially declined to pay for the transplant for Nataline because her plan did not cover “experimental, investigational and unproven services,” her doctors said.
The denial prompted a nationwide series of protests, including a rally outside CIGNA’s Glendale offices attended by a crowd estimated by organizers at 150. Hundreds of telephone callers also clogged lines at CIGNA offices around the nation today on Nataline’s behalf, organizers said. About 15 minutes into the rally, it was announced that CIGNA would make an exception to its rules and approve the transplant.
Sadly, the case of this girl, Nataline Sarkisyan, is far from being unique. Even if we cannot agree on the ways in which we can bring about health care to all without exception, I am going to assume that we can agree on how inherently wrong it is that the fate of many lives are decided by a few people in closed-door meetings . It is simply not right and not just. Enough of the bureaucracy in the health care system of this country.