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Was Company at Fault in Teen's Death?

Edwards champions cause of young patient, but case is not clear
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2008 2:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Seventeen-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan, who died waiting for a liver transplant in December, has become the poster girl for John Edwards' call for a government-run health plan. Insurance giant Cigna denied her family's claim for the procedure, then reversed its decision a month later. She died shortly thereafter. But the story isn't as clear-cut as Edwards suggests in his stump speeches, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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Cigna had approved coverage for a bone-marrow transplant for Sarkisyan, who had been fighting leukemia for 3 years, but her liver failed almost immediately. Medical experts disagree on the merits of another extreme procedure, which at best would have increased her life by a few months. Cigna says it doesn't have a financial interest but only administers the employer's plan. (Read more health care stories.)

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