GLENDALE, California, A 17 year old died just hours after her health insurance company reversed its decision not to pay for a liver transplant that doctors said the girl needed.


Nataline Sarkisyan died Thursday night at about 6 p.m. at University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center. She had been in a vegetative state for weeks, said her mother, Hilda.

“She passed away, and the insurance company is responsible for this,” she said.

“They took my daughter away from me,” said Nataline’s father, Krikor, who appeared at a news conference Friday with his 21 year old son, Bedros.

Mark Geragos, attorney for the girl’s family, said he plans to ask the district attorney to press murder or manslaughter charges against Cigna HealthCare in the case. The insurer “maliciously killed her” because it did not want to bear the expense of her transplant and aftercare, Geragos said.

Nataline had been battling leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant from her brother. She developed a complication, however, that caused her liver to fail.

Doctors at UCLA determined she needed a transplant and sent a letter to CIGNA Healthcare on December 11. The Philadelphia based health insurance company denied payment for the transplant.

On Thursday, about 150 teenagers and nurses protested outside CIGNA’s office in Glendale. As the protesters rallied, the company reversed its decision and said it would approve the transplant.

Despite the reversal, CIGNA said in an e-mail statement before she died that there was a lack of medical evidence showing the procedure would work in Nataline’s case.

“Our hearts go out to Nataline and her family, as they endure this terrible ordeal,” the company said. ” … CIGNA HealthCare has decided to make an exception in this rare and unusual case and we will provide coverage should she proceed with the requested liver transplant.”

In their letter, the UCLA doctors said patients in situations similar to Nataline’s who undergo transplants have a six month survival rate of about 65 percent.

District attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons declined to comment on Geragos’ planned request for murder or manslaughter charges, saying it would be inappropriate to do so until Geragos submits evidence supporting the request.

Officials with CIGNA could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday night.

Thank you AP News

First of all…MY condolences and sympathy to Nataline’s family and friends. A needless death due to financial gain is inconceivable!

As you know Baby Boomers I have no or little time for Insurance companies, lawyers and pharmaceutical companies…this is the reason why. I myself am uninsurable. I have been turned down for insurance since 1991.

Here a young lady lost her fight for life because of the financial end of an insurance company. This is not the first and will not be the last life lost due to their greed and corrupt ways…

They bet on you every day that you won’t get sick, hurt or injured and when you do, they drop you like a hot %$^$%#@% potato!!! Car insurance, health insurance and even home insurance…ask all or any of us, here in FLorida, about the latter!

~The Baby Boomer Queen~