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NJ Pharmacist Needed Double Lung Transplant But Insurance Denied It — Now He's Gone

Jukic family
Jukic family Photo Credit: Mirla Jukic

John Jukić's family says he would still be alive today had his insurance company granted him the double lung transplant he needed back in April.

The 46-year-old Clark dad and Colonia pharmacist suffered lung damage from COVID-19 he contracted last October, and needed a double lung transplant. His only hope was a double lung transplant, his wife Mirla said.

However, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois apparently denied him the life-saving treatment, and while his family was in the process of appealing the decision, John on Monday, June 13.

Blue Cross Blue Shield did not immediately respond to Daily Voice's request for comment placed Wednesday morning.

John had been on life support at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for 211 days on May 21. The double transplant was his only chance at survival, but his insurance company deemed it not medically necessary, his wife said in a Facebook post.

On April 14, John was accepted into Jackson Memorial Hospital's transplant program where more than 30 double lung transplants have been performed with a 100 percent success rate, Mirla said.

"All of Johns doctors at RWJ and the transplant facility, Jackson Memorial, are in full agreement that a lung-transplant is absolutely medically necessary and his only chance at life," Mirla said. "These multiple denials from BCBS are every day bringing John closer and closer to death.

"Since April 18th, BCBSIL has repeatedly denied an in-patient hospital transfer from a non- lung transplant facility, RWJ to a lung transplant facility Jackson Memorial Hospital. The transfer is the ONLY life saving measure for John to survive and be with his family, if not there is NO QUESTION, he will die…period."

Mirla pleaded with legislators and the general public to help her family until this week, when John's battle came to an end.

Born and raised in Guttenberg, John lived in Ridgefield before moving to Clark with his wife, Mirla.

He worked as a pharmacist at Walgreens in Colonia for 24 years and was a loving dad to his children, Jonathan, Mariela and Melania Jukić.

More than $29,000 had been raised as of Wednesday on a GoFundMe for the family. Click here for funeral service details.

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