17 Comments

Summary:

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently underwent a liver transplant. Jobs, who has been on a leave of absence from the company since January, reportedly had the transplant about two months ago in an undisclosed hospital in Tennessee. As the […]

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently underwent a liver transplant. Jobs, who has been on a leave of absence from the company since January, reportedly had the transplant about two months ago in an undisclosed hospital in Tennessee.

As the Journal notes, Tennessee has a more liberal policy regarding waiting lists and residency requirements for transplants. This results in a median wait of 48 days for a liver transplant, vs. 306 nationally. As to why Jobs needed a liver transplant, it’s possibly associated with his pancreatic cancer from 2004. The five-year survival rate for all liver transplants is around 75 percent.

When contacted by the Journal regarding the status of Jobs, Apple spokeswoman Katie Cotton would only comment that “Steve continues to look forward to returning at the end of June, and there’s nothing further to say.” Actually, there is.

Back in January, Jobs sent an e-mail to Apple employees announcing his leave of absence. In the letter, he talked about his weight loss, about “getting to the root cause” of the problem, and reversing it. According to Jobs at the time, the cause had been determined.

Fortunately, after further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause — a hormone imbalance that has been “robbing” me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis.

While it is possible that there was a misdiagnosis in January, there was no announcement regarding the updated status of Jobs’ health, and the question then becomes whether there should have been.

Unlike in 2004, when Jobs hid his illness from all but a few people close to him for nine months before surgery for pancreatic cancer forced him to reveal it, at least some members of the Board of Directors were kept informed. More importantly, Apple COO Tim Cook was officially running the company during Jobs’ illness this time. It appears the company has adapted internally, if not externally, to the problem of Jobs’ health. While the public has no right to know about Jobs’ private life, perhaps a blanket policy of “no comment” would be better than questionable answers.

  1. From my understanding, because Jobs was on medical leave the company did not need to give updates on his health, but if he reassumes his role as CEO it may become a necessity to reveal that fact. It’s really up for debate.

    Share
  2. Thanks for this breaking news.

    Share
    1. You’re welcome.

      Share
  3. He gave “questionable” answers to quell rumors that he was on his death bed and frankly I’m glad he said something to us, rather than just disappearing for six months without a word.

    I don’t see how it matters what he said was wrong with him, whether it was a lie or a wrong diagnosis or whatever, he’s entitled to some privacy and dignity regarding his health and life.

    - Hoping he’s doing well.

    Share
  4. [...] Read the original post: Steve Jobs Had a Liver Transplant [...]

    Share
  5. er — am I the only one wondering what is going on in Tennessee?

    “…..a median wait of 48 days for a liver transplant, vs. 306 nationally.”

    Share
    1. Clearly you’ve never had moonshine. =)

      Share
  6. There are three possible reasons why Steve Jobs could have needed a liver transplant.

    1) The tumor spread to and was growing in his liver or in a way that damaged is liver by obstructing blood and bile flow to and from the liver. It was micro-metastatic disease not detected at the time of his pancreatic surgery.

    2) Not suggested by the media, that his liver’s blood vessels and biliary tract were injured by the original operation (scar formation, etc…) that resulted in liver damage over time that wasn’t detected until the weight loss was worked up.

    3) Something true, true and unrelated (like hepatitis C, or autoimmune hepatitis, or hepatocellular carcinoma) that is an indication for transplant.

    The reason why the Transplant wait differs from region to region is due to two factors, a) supply and b) demand. Some organs don’t last as long outside the body, and therefore can’t travel great distances. There are A LOT of medical centers that transplant on the coasts, and they are rather near each other (Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, and Baltimore have multiple hospitals), there are a handful in the mid-south.

    Share
  7. [...] the news from the Wall Street Journal earlier in the week that Jobs’ medical leave actually involved a liver transplant and rest and recuperation time related to the [...]

    Share
  8. This brings back some painful and scary times for a very close friend of mine. He too was on a waiting list and waiting for his donor. Around 9 months and health dropping, he was diagnosed with liver cancer now. He was then moved to the front of the line. 2 weeks later he was receiving his donor liver. Now he is Living and Loving life to the fullest. Thank you God!

    Share
  9. [...] January, Jobs took a leave of absence to deal with those health issues, later revealed to include a liver transplant. Since returning to work at Apple in June, his highest profile appearance has been as a spectator [...]

    Share
  10. It is very difficult for any person to have a liver transplant. Despite the fact that the five-year survival rate for all liver transplants is around 75 percent it is very risky business.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post