How Steve Jobs Got His 2009 Liver Transplant So Quickly

October 13, 2011 at 2:00 am 11 comments

By Chad Upton | Editor

When I was about 7 years old, my grade school classroom had an Apple II computer stashed in the corner of the room. I remember the excitement when our teacher said we could use the computer after we finished all of our work, even though I had no idea how to use it. Nobody knew how to use it, except for Woody.

Woody was the only kid who had a computer at home and it too was an Apple II. Since that was the first affordable mass-market computer, if any home or small business had a computer, it was usually an Apple.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started the personal computer revolution. There’s no doubt it would have happened without them, but who knows when. Steve Wozniak had the drive to build prototypes of computers just for fun while his partner Steve Jobs had the vision and drive to sell them to people who didn’t know how to use them, like some other products Apple has recently been successful with.

When Steve Jobs passed away, his assets were estimated to be around $6 billion. With that kind of wealth, you could buy almost anything. So, when he received a liver transplant in 2009, a lot of people suggested that he bought his way to the top of the waiting list. How else could he have skipped ahead of 16,000 other people?

His wealth did help him, but not in the way that some have implied.

He was on the transplant waiting list. Well, he was actually on more than one waiting list. Some have even speculated that he was on all of the waiting lists.

So, why doesn’t everyone do this? The rule at the time was that you needed to be within 4 hours of the transplant hospital. For most people, that significantly reduces the number of transplant lists you could be on. But, if you’re a billionaire with a private jet on standby, you’re within 4 hours of a lot of places.

Even still, with so many people waiting, how did he get to the top of the list so quickly?

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) audits the transplant centers to ensure fair treatment. So, he didn’t likely get to the top of the list because of his wealth or social status.

Since his jet gave him access to almost any transplant center in the country, he did what any smart analytical person would do: he figured out which transplant center had the shortest wait and made sure he was on that list. That’s how a guy who lives in Northern California ends up with a liver transplant in Tennessee. It turns out, the median wait time in Tennessee was 85% shorter than the national average.

The technology that Steve brought us will fade, but his approach to everything, including saving his own life, is the real gift he gave us. When Steve rejoined and began to rejuvenate Apple in 1997, the slogan was, “think different” and that sentiment is Steve’s real legacy.

Rest in peace.

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Sources: digital journal, cnnslate, the daily beast

Entry filed under: Demystified. Tags: , , , .

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. spon  |  October 14, 2011 at 7:35 am

    nice post!

  • 2. n.darling  |  October 14, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I LOVE a person who has the integrity to set a record straight…
    especially when it honours such a truth as this! Thank you Chad!
    Blessing’s to all who survive Steve Jobs loss.

  • 3. Justin  |  October 14, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    He was still the owner of a corporation that had absolutely reprehensible practices: buying out the competition, suing the rest of the competition, stifling innovation, trying to be content police, etc.

  • 4. Marshall Gordon  |  October 15, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Jobs bought a house in Tennesse to qualify for the waiting list in that state.

    Apple works its Chinese factory slaves so mercilessly that they commit suicide.

    Apple forces its customers to upgrade to its latest gadgets by throwing out backward compatibility.

  • 5. Arthurr  |  October 23, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Something that everyone seems to overlook: What caused the cancer in the first place was not rectified so it returned. Steve didn’t address the root cause of the cancer. We’re all surrounded by varying levels of carcinogens and EMF is a known one with cell phones being at about the top of the list. I bet he didn’t construct a anti EMF Farraday cage to work in so his body wouldn’t have been exposed. And I bet he used his high radiating iPhone to his very last day on the planet. And his iPad on his EMF producing wireless network, meanwhile chatting on his DECT 5.8ghz very high EMF producing cordless phone. Microwaving his food, sleeping with electronics near his head……the list is long. But with a few observations we can learn from his errors and dramatically reduce EMF radiation around us. Tons of great advice online. Read and extend your life and ensure quality of life. That might be his greatest gift. Not blindly text messaging idiots all day on your little toy phone.

  • 6. needahand  |  October 25, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Still doesn’t explain how a guy with active cancer was allowed a transplant against the rules.

    And now that healthy liver has been destroyed.

    • 7. Ken Peever  |  March 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      The rules can be overlooked if your wealthy.
      There are so many S.J. worshipers out there who will excuse any behavior because human nature is a respecter of person.s and we accept the golden rule as extant. He may have been a brilliant man, possibly even genius, but in the end he he’s mortal just like the rest of us.
      R.I.P. Steve until your appointed time that all of us will have.

  • 8. Jay  |  October 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    “So, he didn’t likely get to the top of the list because of his wealth or social status.

    “Since his jet gave him access to almost any transplant center in the country…”

    Sounds like that’s his wealth right there.

    • 9. Bob  |  October 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm

      Theres no doubt his wealth helped him since it did give him access to many centers, but it didn’t get him to the top of that list as many have implied. He just went for the shortest list.

  • 10. Nathan  |  July 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    This is the same guy who parked in handicapped spots and drove without a license plate because he thought regular rules didn’t apply to him.

    I’m no expert but I too don’t know how a person dying of cancer was even eligible for a new liver. Especially after denying treatment earlier when everything could potentially could of been avoided. Sounds like rules didn’t apply even late in his life.

    • 11. Suspect_Number_3  |  December 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      He drove a car without license plates but – not – in violation of the law. At the time you had 6 months between buying a car and being required to have license plates on the car. His solution was to buy a new (but identical) car every 6 months. Completely legal.


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