Insurance denies liver transplant: Attorney Wants Criminal Charges Against Insurer


    Attorney Wants Criminal Charges Against Insurer

    Geragos Calls Cigna Official Who Denied Teen's Transplant 'Garbage'

    Dec. 22, 2007 —

    The lawyer for California teen Nataline Sarkisyan charged today that the only reason Cigna Health Care officials changed their minds and approved a liver transplant for the desperate girl was they knew it was too late and they wouldn't have to pay for it.

    Sarkisyan, 17, died Thursday just hours after Cigna reversed its decision and approved the procedure it had previously described as "too experimental∧ unproven." Now the Sarkisyan family hopes manslaughter or murder charges will be pressed.

    Their lawyer, Mark Geragos, says he will refer the case to prosecutors for possible criminal charges against the insurer, Cigna HealthCare.

    "All of the doctors there unanimously agreed that she needed and should have that liver transplant. And the only entity, if you will, who said no to that in the middle of that medical decision, was some piece of garbage who decided that making a couple of dollars, or saving them a couple of dollars, was worth more than the 65% chance over six months that she would survive," said Geragos.

    "The only reason they approved it is because we had organized a protest in front of Cigna's corporate headquarters& and in the face of public pressure, they did it," he said.

    By the time the approval came through Nataline had been on the liver transplant list for two weeks and her condition had deteriorated so badly that it was too late to have the procedure.

    "I believe, the corporation knew, powers that be knew, that at that point approving the liver transplant was a 'gimme' because her condition deteriorated to the point where she couldn't receive the liver&she didn't have any chance of either, one, getting a liver or, number two, actually being able to receive it," he says.

    Nataline, who was fighting leukemia, developed liver failure after complications from a bone marrow transplant she received from her brother last month.

    Despite her already fragile health, Geragos says, "all of the doctors at the University of California Medical Center unanimously agreed that she needed and should have that liver transplant."

    More than 6,000 liver transplants are performed in the United States every year, making it one of the most common organ transplants, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.
  2. Putting aside the specifics of this particular tragic companies are the only ones who still deem transplants as "experimental". That is how they attempt to get out of paying for them. Transplant surgery is actually pretty routine these days, with proven successful results.
  3. I know how this insurance circus goes. It's a nightmare. I blame the insurance companies on a lot of my lasting medical problems now.

    Since WHEN is a liver transplant "experimental?" Larry Hagman got one. Crosby, of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young also got one, after destroying the one God gave him with alcohol, as well as countless others of "means" who get the organs they need.

    Problem is, it all boils down to money. Life is nothing to these companies, only the bottom dollar. I bet you none of the people who decided not to allow this have any kind of medical degree, or they've been told to go a certain way or lose their jobs.

    Sickens me they treat life so cheaply.
  4. I hope the insurance company pays dearly for this. I hope it sets a precedent for future recipients in need of life saving surgery.
  5. You should watch the Michael Moore movie, 'Sicko'.
  6. Insurance companies should all rot in hell.
  7. I was told recently that had I had proper therapy when I was first injured, I'd be walking now. And working. But my insurance wouldn't pay for it. They ARE paying for it now, with all the expensive drugs I have to take, as well as having to see a doctor every month.

    My DH also lost a good paying job JUST after my last surgery. THEY say he drove during his lunch hour (a violation of DOT rules) but it was strange that it came up right after I'd been hospitalized for 2 weeks due to an infection I'd gotten from the original surgery. DH had been telling them for MONTHS he had to drive during his lunch hour because of the schedule, yet they did nothing. We tried to sue, but it was obvious the company would fire anyone who admitted, yes, he did tell them about the schedualing problem.

    They also managed to get him black-balled for a time... we got real lucky when he got the job he has now.

    It just kills me that they are allowed to do this willy-nilly. They spend 5 million to save 5 thousand. It happens more frequently than most know about.