I have read a lot of misinformation lately about Steve Jobs regarding his 2009 liver transplant. Even when it was make public a few years ago misinformation, brought by people not familiar with transplantation rules, was coming out. A lot of people are saying that Steve Jobs received a liver transplant by bypassing the waiting list. I will tell you that it is impossible because the rules are so strict. A transplant center can be put on probation or even be shut down by UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) for doing such things. UNOS is the government contractor who manages organ allocation and enforces regulations. There is no way a transplant center will risk its future just to transplant a known person. I am sure they kept good documentation of what they did just in case complaints like these would come back.
Reasons for his Fast Liver Transplant
Steve Jobs just did what a lot of Americans would do if they had the money; they would pick the hospital that gives them the best chance to be transplanted quickly. This is why he went to Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tn. This hospital was performing about 120 liver transplants a year which is way more than the average hospital. They also had really good outcome: 90% of their patients were alive after a year with the national average being of 84%. The main reasons he choose that transplant center is because of their short median wait time of 2 months. This is really fast. The average wait time for a hospital in California for a liver transplant is 5 years!! It really makes sense now why he went to Tennessee and it did not take time. All the information I am giving you is available to the public on the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) website. The organ transplantation world is so regulated and monitored that there are tons of transplant statistics available.
I forgot to mention that a transplant recipient can be on the wait list of more than one transplant center as long as the patient meets the criteria. Usually, transplant hospitals want their patients to live within 2 to 3 hours of the hospital. Let’s pretend Steve Jobs had a private jet which I guess he did. He could have lived in a central location, be on several hospitals wait list and be on stand bye to fly when he gets the call for his liver transplant. That would have been theoretically possible but hard to manage.
Basically anybody could have done what Steve Jobs did as long as you can afford it. People are shopping for transplant centers every day in this country for diverse reasons. Patients from overseas are even coming to the United States to be transplanted. Steve Jobs did nothing wrong, he could just afford what a lot of people couldn’t but would do.