Posted by: coastcontact | July 11, 2012

Insurance Company Death Panels

I received an e-mail plea from a member of  I underlined the critical words.

  • Danielle Gilbert is my friend and a former student, and she is fighting for her life. Danni has stage four colon cancer — but her insurance company is refusing to cover treatment that could buy her at least three more precious months with her two daughters and husband.

The email asks the recipients to petition Blue Cross to pay for the needed Avastin treatment. The treatment will cost about $8,300 per month.

Tell Blue Cross Idaho to cover cancer treatment that could buy Danni more precious time with her daughters and husband.”

Five years ago 17 year old Nataline Sarkisyan was denied a liver transplant by her family’s health insurer, CIGNA. A community up roar resulted in a change in their decision but it was too late and she died.

The two decisions were made by insurance companies. No one called the people at the insurance companies that made those decisions death panels. There is a group, wanting to kill national health care plans, calling government bureaucrats (who are most likely doctors) using the words “death panels” to describe those decision makers.

My own mother was approaching 96 and had advanced dementia. The care facility called my sister and me to advise she was suffering with shallow breathing and might not survive the night. My sister wanted her transferred to a hospital for intensive care. I asked what the benefit would be. She won’t be able to talk and she will still be unaware of her surroundings. It was a condition that had existed for two years. My sister relented and Mom passed away at 5 a.m. the next day.

All of the facts in these cases are never totally revealed. Unrevealed in the news stories about Nataline Sarkisyan is that she had recurrent leukemia, first diagnosed at age 14, had received a bone marrow transplant from her brother Bedros, November 27, 2007. She subsequently developed complications leading to multiple organ failure, including liver and kidney failure. This information was revealed in a Wikipedia entry. An article in the N.Y. Times does an excellent job of evoking your sympathy.

  • What is the real condition of the people involved?
    What are the real costs?
    What is the outlook for their recovery?

I do not understand why insurance company panels are better equipped to make the decisions.  After all they represent “for profit” insurance companies.



  1. As always, some good points.

  2. great job. keep it up.

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