Teen Dies After Insurance Nixes Transplant

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mactastic, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #1
    Subtitle: Do you really have a civil right to stay alive?
    This comment was made in another thread:
    The story:
    Now, the post I quoted above went basically unquestioned in the gun thread. But does one really have a civil right to remain alive, and if so, how far does that right extend? Does it extend to medical treatment?
     
  2. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #2
    You have a civil right not to be murdered. Staying alive on your own is your own business.
     
  3. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #3
    Then why aren't civil rights violation charges levied against murderers?

    Plus, that's not what 'Rat said at all. He said you have a civil right to stay alive. You didn't question the wording at the time. I wonder why?
     
  4. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Because murder is prosecuted as a state crime and not federal. Also prosecutors have leeway on how they want to charge any crime based on what they think they can get a conviction on. Easier to prove someone killed someone than to prove something nebulous like civil rights were violated.

    Civil right to stay alive? That doesn't even make sense. So, any time someone drops dead from something, their rights have been violated? See where that leads to?
     
  5. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #5
    But if it were truly a possible avenue of prosecution, you'd have to figure some prosecutor somewhere would have at least tried it, right?

    Have you ever heard of anyone pursing it thought? Ever?

    I do. Which is why I was flabbergasted by the ease with which 'Rat sold that one to all of you in the gun thread. Our intrepid lawyer didn't even make a note of it, despite his heavy involvement in the thread.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #6
    My impression is that they usually are -- generally under the category of "wrongful death" suits.

    Without more digging I don't feel like I have enough information to have a real opinion on this case... this sounds like a fairly high-risk transplantation. The article doesn't really comment on whether a matched liver was already identified and assigned to this young woman. If the match process thought she was a good candidate, it would seem to countermand what the insurance company was saying. Otherwise, whether a usable liver that could save another life was to be used in a situation in which it was unlikely to save her life is, at least on first glance, a valid issue.
     
  7. mpw Guest

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    #7
    It sounds to me like the civil right to stay alive was intended as the assumption that nobody has an automatic right to do anything that would kill you. Seems fairly straight forward to me, far moreso than some other amendments.
     
  8. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #8
    That's a civil court issue though. If your rights have been violated, that is a criminal act, and you would expect to see a prosecution in a criminal court - were one possible.

    My suspiscion is that any competent lawyer would take one look at the claim that one has a civil right to stay alive via the 14th amendment's equal protection clause, and would laugh you out of their office.

    However, if one truly does have a civil right to stay alive, it would matter not a whit whether this was a high-risk transplant or not.

    But denying this girl a transplant that her medical provider had requested sure sounds like "doing something that would kill you". Their decision ended her life as surely as being unarmed in the face of an armed killer does.
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #9
    You asked why civil charges aren't brought against murderers, and I pointed out that they are. I don't see how "but that's a civil court issue" is a valid response to that. Certainly agreed, though, that civil litigation is not the primary means by which murders and other criminal acts are accounted for.

    Sorry, that's not what I was implying at all... of course I think that's a ridiculous statement, also, at least in a broad context. By case I meant the transplant case -- not the lawsuit -- I meant more whether the article gave a lot of reason to believe that the insurance company had made a good or bad call. I don't think that information is provided. That's what I'm saying.
     
  10. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    It has been pursued but in civil, not criminal court. It's also used in exchange for assault than any other crime. Prosecutors like most professions follow the path of least resistance and will pursue what gets them the easiest and fastest conviction.

    I feel bad for the family of the person that dropped dead, but the same thing could happen if there were no donors of organs in the first place whether the surgery was paid for or not. I'd hate to think that someone was violating someone else's rights by not donating their organs or worse yet, not having the foresight to die themselves at the right time to donate them.
     
  11. Markleshark macrumors 603

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    #11
    So whats the point of insurance if it doesn't... well... insure you.
     
  12. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #12
    But that's not at all what happened here, so how the **** is that relevant? Of course the same thing could have happened if there were no donors. She could have died on the car ride to the hospital too, but that's not what happened either.

    To make as much money as possible for the insurance company's shareholders.
     
  13. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    You're confusing "civil rights" with "civil court". They are not the same thing. Civil rights violations are often prosecuted in criminal court. Of course, one can also file a civil lawsuit alleging civil rights violations as well, so I can see where there would be some confusion.

    I agree. Medically, we don't have the information to determine whether the insurance company made the right call or not.

    But if the issue is whether or not we have a civil right to stay alive, it doesn't matter what the insurance company thinks. Denying treatment would, under those rules, violate her civil rights.

    Prosecutors do not pursue civil cases.

    I think you're in agreement with me here. The fact that we don't ever see prosecutors pursuing civil rights violations for murder pretty much says it all.

    Because while prosecutors may follow the path of least resistance, they also want to make sure they throw everything they have at someone they find despicable. And that would include civil rights violation charges if they thought they could bring them.

    Exactly. It leads to places we surely don't want to go.

    I simply find it amazing that it takes an example like this to prove the point though, instead of being glaringly obvious to anyone paying attention.
     
  14. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #14
    The same insurance most likely paid for her chemotherapy, her BMT, and all the other treatment she had. Insurance models don't work if the model is that every single patient should receive every possible treatment even if there is no reason to believe they will work.

    Besides the fact that a policy like that would bankrupt the system... transplant organs or tissue are not in plentiful supply (generally except for bone marrow) anywhere -- your government turns organ transplant recipients down if they are not good candidates just like our insurance companies do. Think about it this way:

    Suppose an insurance company covers 100 people who need a liver. You are advocating for a subgroup of those people, 10 individuals, who have (for sake of argument), a 10% 1 year survival chance. The base rate of 1-year survival for "good candidates" is about 85% . So, say you give ten livers to those ten individuals for whom you are advocating. One of them will be alive, statistically, in a year, and nine will still die. The ten individuals who did not get livers, who were "good candidates," will be dead. Had you given them the livers instead, 8-9 of them would still be alive. So you've killed a net of seven people, arguably unnecessarily. I'm not saying that to be polemic or attack you... that's the complexity of organ transplantation. That same calculus applies in a 3rd-party payer system or a 2nd-party payer system.

    Yes, I certainly agree... that would be completely lacking in jurisprudence, because it would place an unmeetable burden on both the state and the insurance industry.
     
  15. mpw Guest

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    #15
    I have insurance, but it wouldn't cover me for a liver transplant. It only covers my home contents.

    It depends what's covered by her policy, in this case she wasn't covered for the transplant from what I've read, so who's responsible for providing her 'right' to treatment? the US government? in which case nobody needs insurance.

    The decision not to shoot you would be the same as saving your life then, by similar logic.

    The insurance company probably acted within the requirements of the insurance she purchased, if she wanted more cover she should've made sure it was in her plan.
     
  16. nbs2 macrumors 68030

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    #16
    So, if you were planning on having liver and onions for dinner, and someone stole the liver from your fridge, you are saying that your insurance company wouldn't cover the cost of transplanting another liver to your fridge? Unfair!:mad:
     
  17. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #17
    This just isn't how U.S. health insurance works. You don't and can't add options to your plan. It's not like her parents got burned because they went with the cheaper "no transplant" coverage, or like you could add an all-inclusive cancer rider to your plan.
     
  18. Naimfan macrumors 68040

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    #18
    :D:D:D:D

    Frankly, the someone who stole the liver did you a favor!
     
  19. mpw Guest

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    #19
    But the policy does have terms and conditions I bet, and it's not compulsory, she could've paid for it herself if she'd had funds.

    They didn't deny her right, they just had no obligation to fund it. You can't blame an insurance company for that. If the public want their rights paid for they should make sure they elect the government to do it, and be prepared to pay through their taxes.
     
  20. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #20
    This seems to indicate that you think there IS a right to stay alive, just that the insurance company is under no obligation to provide you with the means to acheive that right. Is that the case, or am I misreading your post?
     
  21. atszyman macrumors 68020

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    #21
    This is probably the most telling part of the story:

    The company reversed their decision and approved the transplant. So it must have been a covered procedure under the terms of the insurance contract. They didn't see medical evidence that it would work is their reasoning? I want my Doctor's to make my medical decisions, not my insurance company.

    It's one thing when I hit my insurance limits because I opted for the cheaper insurance. It is quite another when the insurance company is doing the diagnosing and assigning treatments. I realize that they have an interest in making their profits, and that they don't want Doc's giving un-needed treatments, but their financial interest should not trump the Doctor's decision in life-or-death situations.
     
  22. mpw Guest

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    #22
    Of course I think there's a right to stay alive, I don't see how anybody can have trouble with that notion as a Civil Right or Human Right, or even just common courtesy.

    They're under no obligation to provide any means other than that which they're contracted to under the policy.

    The right is not provided by the insurance, the insurance is simply a financial agreement some people choose to enter into to help them fund their lifestyles afforded to the by their rights.

    In the US there's a right to bear arms, but you don't get given a gun do you?
     
  23. Naimfan macrumors 68040

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    #23
    Where's the stopping point? What interests should prevail? At whose cost?
     
  24. mpw Guest

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    #24
    I'm now confused:confused:

    I thought that there were different plans available, as atszyman seems to be suggesting, but that's in direct contrast to pseudobrit who clearly said I was mistaken:confused:
     
  25. atszyman macrumors 68020

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    #25
    It's not options. For some cheaper insurance policies you can end up with a cap to what the insurance will actually pay out for a given time period.
     

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