Cigna Corp. is receiving great scorn, and perhaps rightly so, after one of its insured, 17-year old leukemia patient Natalie Sarkisyan, was first denied coverage for a liver transplant and then approved too late to save her, hours before her death. Cigna is a for-profit insurance company, bound by contract to cover certain procedures and not others. Cigna considers liver transplants “experimental” and thus not covered. Her doctors disagreed, but not so certainly that they were willing to do the procedure without the promise of an extra paycheck (bearing in mind that the hospital and doctors were certainly already collecting multiple thousands of dollars per day from Cigna).
Cigna is being roundly criticized for being overly aggressive in doing the one thing that corporate officers are bound to do – protecting the shareholders’ interests. If liver transplants aren’t experimental, if the liver transplant would have saved this life (and personally, I think those statements are true), the criticism is deserved. But in all the criticism of this company for refusing to write a check, why is no one criticizing the people who by donating less than a day’s work could have saved her life, but refused to do so until that check was (figuratively at least) in hand?
When did this insurance company swear to “come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief”? When did Cigna swear to keep patients free “from harm and injustice”? In fact, the insurance company did neither. Perhaps in this day of abortion and euthanasia her doctors did not swear that oath either, but if the lack of a paycheck for less than a day’s work prevented those who had the skill from saving her life then may it not be granted to them to enjoy life and art and may they not be honored with fame among all men for all time to come.