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Life Denied: California Nurses, Family of Sick Teen March on Health Insurance Company Thursday

17-year-old girl needs liver transplant, CIGNA denies

GLENDALE, Calif., Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 company's 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.

CIGNA's refusal of Nataline's liver transplant-overruling the urgent appeals of an array of doctors and nurses-is an example of the kind of 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.

CNA/NNOC is the nation's largest and fastest-growing union of direct-care RNs, with some 75,000 members in all 50 states.

SOURCE California Nurses Association
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