Steve Jobs Was “Sickest Patient” on Liver Donor List

On June 21, reported on speculation that Apple’s mercurial chief executive had undergone a liver transplant, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Yesterday, the surgery was confirmed by the operating hospital, Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tennesse. Jobs approved the disclosure.

But an article at MSNBC, among other grumblings, alleged that Jobs received special treatment because of his wealth; the likelihood of a cancer patient being deemed a worthy liver recipient, the piece argued, was slim because of Jobs’ reduced chance of survival. “… [H]e does have a complicating illness so he had to find a transplant center willing to ignore that fact. It was probably easier for a wealthy CEO to do that than it would be for you,” the article opines.

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But speaking to the New York Times, representatives from the hospital contended that Jobs’ dire condition was exactly the impetus for his receiving the transplant. According to a spokesperson, “the sickest patient on the waiting list,” is the first to receive a liver, and Jobs was among the patients with the highest MELD score, a rubric used to determine rank.

Roughly 6,000 people will receive transplant livers in 2009, out of a waiting list of approximately 16,000. Jobs, who Methodist University Hospital says is recovering well, is still expected to return to the helm of Apple before the end of the month.

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