Albuquerque, NM -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/10/2015 -- Nataline Mary Sarkisyan (Armenian: July 10, 1990 – December 20, 2007) was an American teenager with recurrent leukemia. Her case became part of the health care reform debate in the United States in 2007 when Cigna HealthCare denied coverage for a liver transplant operation. The company later reversed its decision after a great deal of media attention to her story, but Sarkisyan died hours later.
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Diagnosed with leukemia at age 14, Nataline Sarkisyan had health insurance coverage under the employer coverage of her parents. Physicians informed the family and insurance company, Cigna HealthCare, that patients in similar circumstances have a six-month survival rate of 65% after a liver transplant. The likelihood of success of the recommended procedure was questioned. Dr. John Roberts, chief of the transplant service at UC San Francisco (not the transplant center treating Sarkisyan), stated that his center generally does not accept a patient without a 50% or greater five year survival rate. Please DONATE TODAY to help children with cancer!
The chief of the Baylor Regional Transplant Institute in Dallas, Dr. Goran Klintmalm, said this particular operation was a "very high-risk transplant." Dr. Klintmalm did state that he would consider the same operation on a similar patient. On December 11, 2007, Cigna rejected the request for coverage for the liver transplant. Sarkisyan's doctors at the UCLA Medical Center, including the head of its transplant unit, wrote a letter to protest that the treatment proposed was neither experimental nor unproven and called on Cigna to urgently review its decision. Please DONATE TODAY to help Nataline Sarkisyan's legacy!
Nataline's dreams will, in turn, help one of her peers live their dream. The Fashion-Legacy was created to honor Nataline Sarkisyan and the aspirations she had. Despite being diagnosed with leukemia, there were some things which leukemia just could not take from Nataline. Her teenage dreams and hopes of organizing and holding a fashion show. Nataline lost her courageous battle on December 20, 2007, but her big dream will be fulfilled and her loving, generous spirit will live on forever. Every July, in homage to Nataline's birthday, the Fashion-Legacy will be held. Help Make Nataline's Sarkisyan Dream Come True!
About The Foundation
Nataline's family set up the Nataline Sarkisyan Foundation, which helps students who share Nataline's dreams of pursuing fashion design, culinary art and those who want to pursue careers in helping the ill. The Idea for the foundation started with a sketchbook. A sketchbook filled with one young girl's aspirations to become a fashion designer. From this sketchbook came the inspiration to hold an annual fashion show honoring its owner, Nataline Sarkisyan. After seventeen-year-old Nataline tragically lost her life to leukemia in December of 2007, her family sought refuge in the dreams she had left behind. Upon discovering Nataline's sketchbook and studying the pages of clothing she had designed, her family knew exactly how to celebrate their beloved daughter's memory.