Couple Still Battling in Court with Legal Case Against Cigna – One of the Last Cases Handled by Wendell Potter before he Left
Posted Oct 07 2009 10:01pm
We all remember this story as it was on national news about the teenager who needed a transplant and Cigna finally caved in, but it was too late by that time as her condition was critical. There’s not much recourse over what occurred for the family to gain much legally. They have now filed a case for damages over the behavior of the Cigna employees with the heckling and even giving her the finger. That part is almost like adding insult to injury and as Wendell Potter said when you are on the inside your sight gets distracted and shielded from the matters at hand sometimes.
Here come Cigna right back saying the case is without merit and expects to prevail. They did issue a letter of apology, but after losing their daughter in the fashion that occurred, is that enough? Sometimes things like flowers, a personal visit whatever can mean a lot more to show the human side of the business. BD
Surrounded by supporters, Hilda Sarkisyan marched into Cigna Corp.’s Philadelphia headquarters on a chilly fall day, 10 months after the company refused to pay for a liver transplant for her daughter. "You guys killed my daughter," the diminutive San Fernando Valley real estate agent declared at the lobby security desk. "I want an apology." What she got was something quite different. Cigna employees, looking down into the atrium lobby from a balcony above, began heckling her, she said, with one of them giving her "the finger." Sarkisyan walked out, stunned and hurt. "They showed me their true colors," she said. "Shame on them."
Wendell Potter, a Cigna spokesman who quit after handling the publicity surrounding the Sarkisyan case, agreed. "HMOs and insurers are largely free to deny access to care without fear of reprisal or financial consequences," Potter said in a speech to the Civil Justice Foundation in San Francisco. But, without these limits, an industry spokesman said suits against health insurers could be disastrous for consumers.
"I want to get rid of this ERISA law," Hilda Sarkisyan said, "and replace it with Nataline's law." Meanwhile, the Sarkisyans filed a new suit over the lobby incident this month. Cigna said in a statement that the case is "without merit," and that the company expects to prevail.