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Flashback: Cigna "Death Panel" pulls the plug on 17 year old cancer patient because of costs.

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girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:02 PM
Original message
Flashback: Cigna "Death Panel" pulls the plug on 17 year old cancer patient because of costs.
For Immediate Release
December 19, 2007

Life Denied: Nurses, Family of Sick Teen March on Health Insurance Company Thursday - 17- year-old girl needs liver transplant, CIGNA denies

Registered nurses, family and concerned community members will march on the corporate offices of health insurance giant CIGNA in Glendale this Thursday to protest the companys denial of a life-saving liver transplant for 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee announced today. The nurses will accompany the family and demand that CIGNA approve the transplant. In addition, the family and the nurses are urgently appealing to the public to call CIGNA at 818-500-6262 and demand they provide the care Nataline needs.

What: March on CIGNA
When: Thursday, Dec. 20, 11:00 am
Where: CIGNA Headquarters, Glendale
400 N Brand Blvd, St. 400, Glendale, CA 91203

My daughter survived two bouts of cancer, and against all odds has been stable even with so many of her organs not working, only to now be told that she can not get the only treatment that will save her life because some administrator in some office thinks it is too expensive, said Hilda Sarkisyan. We needed help in standing up against this insurance provider, and of course it was the nurses who stepped forward.

Nataline, recently treated at UCLA Medical Center with a bone marrow transplant for a recurring leukemia, developed a rare complication from the chemotherapy and transplant causing many of her organs, including her liver and kidneys to shut down. She is now in critical condition in the intensive care unit and multiple doctors have told the family that her only hope of survival is a liver transplant. Medically speaking, her doctors say that she is ready for the transplant. They also believe that her other organs will recover on their own if the liver is transplanted. CIGNA has ignored this medical decision and calls the transplant experimental as justification for denying the treatment.

CIGNAs refusal of Natalines liver transplantoverruling the urgent appeals of an array of doctors and nursesis 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.

http://www.calnurses.org/media-center/press-releases/2007/december/life-denied-nurses-family-of-sick-teen-march-on-health-insurance-company-thursday-17-year-old-girl-needs-liver-transplant-cigna-denies.html?print=t
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. I wonder what Sarahpalin will be saying in response to that.
"Oh, it's wrong for the government to decide, but it sure is mighty darn moral of them insurance companies to say the word. Yooooooooou betcha!"

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ControlledDemolition Donating Member (901 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-17-09 12:39 AM
Response to Reply #1
27. The decision maker (a.k.a. death panelist) must have been educated publicly! n/t
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
2. Can't remember if I saw this on cable news
or 60 Minutes. Shame on America. :cry:
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
3. Let's kick this to the greatest page
and send to everyone you know. Friend and Foe.
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alsame Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:06 PM
Response to Original message
4. Didn't it also happen to a very young child in Houston? I think it
it was around the time of the Terri Schiavo fiasco, but I can't remember the poor child's name.
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. That was a hospital decision.
The infant was non-viable. There was nothing anyone could do. It wasn't a matter of insurance as much as it was a case of impossibility.

There was another at about the same time, iirc, of an older or elderly man who was terminal and was basically sent home to die, but anohter institution was found to take him in. I don't recall the details.

I watched my husband die of cancer four years ago. I know that there comes a time when there simply is nothing more that can be done. These decisions are not made based on profitability; they made based on reality.


Tansy Gold
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alsame Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Thanks for clarifying it for me. I remember it was tragic but didn't
recall the details.

I'm so sorry about your husband.:hug:
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Much more information here, from DUer Ian David
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alsame Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Sun Hudson, he's the
one I remembered. :cry:
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. These are only a few cases
This stuff happens ALL THE TIME. It's not just in Texas.

Most of the time, the family members understand that the case is futile. They know their loved one -- child, father, spouse, whatever -- is gone, for all intents and purposes. There may still be life in the body, but the real person is gone. The kind thing is to stop the suffering, or at least stop prolonging it.

Once in a while, someone fights against reality. They may use phrases like "right to life" and "denial of care," but the reality turns out the same in the end -- the person dies. And nothing can change that. But it's the fight against reality that claims the media attention, and then the media distorts it.

A child with leukemia that has spread to her brain before she's six months old is not going to survive. A child that cannot eat or breathe is not going to survive. A 57-year-old man with cancer in his lungs and liver and lymph nodes and spine, who has developed pneumonia and has a rampant MRSA infection, whose liver and kidneys have ceased functioning, is not going to survive.

Most of us understand this. A few of us don't. It's the few who get the publicity.



TG

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alsame Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. You are so right. My father had to be
removed from life support in 2006. It's a horrible thing for any family to go through.

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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 07:54 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. My concern is fear of a slippery slope to denying care for the disabled.
Edited on Sun Aug-16-09 07:55 PM by Odin2005
KamaAina (a high-functioning autistic like myself) posted similar sentiment in a thread about Oregon's assisted suicide law a while back. These obviously are cases of futility, but we as a society must be EXTREMELY vigilant of ANY slippery-slope tendency for this to slide into denying care for the disabled because we "have a bad quality of life and are better off dead anyway" and are a "burden on society and the money would be better spent on non-disabled people".
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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. Sun Hudson was the boy's name
and he had a terminal condition. However, it WAS a matter of (lack of)insurance and the Texas Futile Care Law kicked in.
It is of note, that this mother was NOT competent to make OR understand the decisions that were being made for her son AND it is of note that a guardian ad litem was NOT appointed for this child to make the best decisions for him.
The decision was made by the hospital (who was eating the cost of his hospitalization) and the state.
There was NOBODY that was acting to protect this child's best interests just the financial interests of the hospital and the state.
As a nurse, I completely understand the complexities of this case and the fact that ultimately, the RIGHT thing happened. However, the correct procedure was not followed to attain that result which makes it wrong and thus creates a slippery slope.
I am sorry for your loss--but if you think that these decisions are not made on profitability then you live in denial of that fact.
That is ONLY what these decisions are about. Reality has nothing to do with it--otherwise we would not have people like Terri Schiavo languishing around for years while they only gave Sun Hudson 10 days notice to find another facility before they pulled the plug (notice the law provides for another facility to take him which gives a loophole to the hospital they are in--obviously, in his condition he was not stable so therefore he could not reasonably be moved even IF he could find placement--without funding? Good luck with that!)
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. Replying to #20, but addressing both #20 and #23
I understand the concern with the potential slippery slope, and I also understand the concerns over whether appropriate procedures were followed in the Sun Hudson case.

My comments, with the disclaimer that I am neither a medical professional nor a legal professional, just an opinionated old broad.

1. The Sun Hudson case was apparently the first of its kind, in which life support was unilaterally withdrawn from a minor over the protest of the legal guardian, in this case the mother. The "futile care" law was indeed written to cover those cases where financial considerations were an issue. The law did not require appointment of a guardian ad litem in the case of an incompetent parent. The appears to have assumed -- rightly or wrongly -- that once the hospital determines the case to be futile, the patient essentially no longer has rights, is essentially considered deceased. I'm not necessarily agreeing with this; I'm simply citing my admittedly uninformed interpretation for the sake of discussion. Should there eventually be sufficient reform of the current system to the point that no patient will be denied care based on ability to pay for it, then such decisions will be based solely on the prognosis. And yes, I understand that that's in a perfect world and there will never be a perfect world. But then again, all resources are finite, and decisions will undoubtedly be based on whether or not limited resources will be best used on another patient with a more hopeful outcome. That, too, is a decision based on financial considerations, but I don't think it's avoidable.

2. In the cases of those who are disabled but not terminal, I don't think this issue would come into play, at least not under a system where the overt financial considerations are no longer applicable. I could, of course, be totally wrong. The issue is "futility" of care, not "efficacy." And certainly for those who are competent to make their own decisions, either in the form of advance directives or at the time of care, life support would not be withdrawn without consent.

Again, I could be totally wrong. This is just the way I see it. Whether the Texas law, or any other law similar to it, would be/will be revised to provide for protection of the patient's rights, I don't know.



Tansy Gold
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #13
25. The infant wasn't covered by insurance, the family wanted him on life support
but Texas had passed a law (GWB signed it in 1999) that allowed hospitals to refuse to continue treatment in some conditions, in spite of family objections, if the costs were prohibitive.
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WeDidIt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
5. And the Congress is about to codify the Insurance Company Death PAnels into law
You'll now have to line their pockets with money so they can kill you.
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crazy_vanilla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
6. oh, but why, supposedly many Americans are pleased with their insurance
As long as it's not their children's lives on the line.

Bastards! They have blood on their hands - not just the Insurance companies, but all those who support them.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-17-09 04:21 AM
Response to Reply #6
28. It's really very simple. They've never been expensively sick, and are not likely to be
In every age demographic, 5% of that demographic accounts for 50% of health care costs, and 15% for 85% of costs. People who have never had to use their insurance for anything serious are likely to say, if asked that they like their insurance. These opinions are totally worthless unless they have made really expensive claims.
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demmiblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
7. If these H.C. companies go against medical opinion, they should be charged with murder/manslaughter
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
8. Want something to laugh at?
Go to this page, put your cursor over their logo in the upper right hand corner and see what the tool tip says.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIGNA

Also rememeber that on April 16, 2009, the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed all of the claims against CIGNA related to the coverage determination. The United States of Corpmerica strikes again.
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stuball111 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:16 PM
Response to Original message
9. Damn sad...
So much for "Right to Life" seems it only applies to the unborn, and once you pop out, you're fair game. Either pull the trigger outright or sit there and watch someone die seems to be acceptable.
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FourScore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
10. k/r
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abumbyanyothername Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
11. The company that made the chemo treatment
should have kicked in something for the liver transplant.

I am not sure that I demonize CIGNA here, but they certainly are at least as bad as having the government decide if Nataline gets a liver transplant.

Some of these decisions are going to have to be made by some people. People denied care are going to be traumatized. I would prefer to have the government, informed by my doctors, making these calls rather than CIGNA, advised by Goldman Sachs.
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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #11
21. Chemo is poison
The risks and benefits of chemo are fully explained before embarking on that treatment.
The only way chemo works is to kill bad cells and sometimes good cells get killed to. It is the risk you take.
They have no responsibility to pay for treatment here. Chemo is not begun without informed consent.
The parents had the right to refuse the chemo for the child--but then the cancer would have killed her.
However, the insurance company had the obligation to pay for the transplant. They ARE the demon here.
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crazy_vanilla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:20 PM
Response to Original message
12. kick nt
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xxqqqzme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
15. Wendall Phillips talked about this case when he was on
Moyers' Journal.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 07:45 PM
Response to Original message
22. For-profit "healthcare" is evil.
Edited on Sun Aug-16-09 07:45 PM by Odin2005
:cry:
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-16-09 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
26. Kick
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democracy1st Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-17-09 04:48 AM
Response to Original message
29. K & R
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Cherchez la Femme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-17-09 07:27 AM
Response to Original message
30. Shhh...
they don't want to hear reality, just twisted, bizarro facts that make them sound moral (that's all that apparently counts) and which make liberals appear like monsters.

It's unbelievale so many fall for such rot, but that's what passes as an American 'informed public' in this the beginning of the third millennium. :crazy:
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City Lights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-17-09 07:51 AM
Response to Original message
31. K&R
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