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Apple observers noticed that CEO Steve Jobs' health dramatically decreased in 2008. Mr. Jobs reportedly has received a liver transplant and is currently recovering, eagerly awaiting a return to Apple at the month's end.  (Source: WSJ)
Apple's CEO and cofounder hopes to put his health problems behind him

Founding one of tech industry's biggest players -- Apple -- and personally turning the company around in the late nineties was nothing compared to the challenge that Apple CEO Steve Jobs faced in 2004.  Battling a rare and deadly form of pancreatic cancer, Mr. Jobs recovered thanks to surgery and reassumed his leadership role at the company, integrally helping to conceive, develop and release hit products such as the iPhone and MacBook Air.

Last year, though, many observers took note that Mr. Jobs looked sickly at public appearances.  Sure enough, in January of this year he took medical leave, announcing he would be gone from Apple on medical leave until the end of June.  In his absence Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook took over many of the day to day duties.

Now details of Mr. Jobs' medical battle, veiled in secrecy, have at last emerged.  According to a report by the Wall Street Journal Mr. Jobs received a liver transplant in Tennessee two months ago.  Mr. Jobs had earlier this year had relocated from California to Tennessee, a state known for having a shorter waiting list for organ transplants.  At the time Bloomberg had reported that Mr. Jobs was applying for a liver transplant.

Apple spokespeople contacted by the WSJ to seek confirmation of the sourced reports refused to comment, merely reiterating that Apple "continues to look forward to returning at the end of June, and there's nothing further to say."  According to the WSJ report, COO Cook may take over additional roles to help Mr. Jobs during his recovery.

Earlier this year it was discovered that Mr. Jobs was receiving hormone therapy.  Reportedly he was unable to digest food properly and receive nutrients.  The liver is an integral part of hormone production, and also produces bile, needed for digestion.  The liver is very sensitive to toxins, and can be damaged by chemotherapy, which Mr. Jobs likely received during his cancer treatment.

Liver transplant recipients have a 58 percent chance of surviving 15 years.  Liver transplants have been performed since 1967; the liver was the second organ to be successfully transplanted, with the kidneys being the first.

Mr. Jobs is currently 54.  Apple fans are eagerly awaiting his return, as he has always pushed the company and given it a creative spark.  Apple released its latest hot offering -- the iPhone 3G S -- this Friday.  Apple also announced new MacBook Pros, detailed its new OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), and revealed Quicktime X.  Speculation has already begun that the company is preparing a major refresh to its iPod lineup for the fall.

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By ChristopherO on 6/22/2009 1:42:27 AM , Rating: 2
I think reality is somewhere in between your post and what I mentioned in a prior message. Not every hospital is equal, nor is every physician. For that matter I have no idea what state you live in, but all the laws are different.

Also, the teaching hospital in your city might not be as good as a private institution, but generally if I pick any major city in the US, the teaching hospital(s) in that city are always superior to anything else. Many/most seem to be public, which was a huge surprise since I'm a "pro free market" guy and I assumed private would beat public by a huge ratio... Instead state med-schools generally seem to have the best care with the big-name private schools mixed in. Almost none of the best appear to be traditional, non-teaching, private hospitals.
(compiled by 3-year statistics of doctor/peer surveys)

I still stand by my assertion that you could still get comparable care sans insurance, -- because the ER and clinics at public hospitals won't deny treatment (even those same top-notch places in the US News section). For example, another young guy down my street went to M.D. Anderson, without being covered, and they saved his life. I'm not blind, I think a person without insurance will have huge hurdles to cross, but I think those can be overcome with assertiveness.

As for Jobs. I think it's totally unfair to assume money had anything to do with it. His case could have been critical (he literally was wasting away in photos) and he could have been bumped ahead of all those people who had much longer to live. As someone else said (med student below), livers tend to have a shorter waiting period than other organs. Plus he was physically in a state that had fewer organ recipients, which made getting a quick match much easier.

He is fortunate enough to pick up his life, move to the state most likely to have high availability of transplants. I wouldn't say wealthy people get better care, but wealthy people can go out of their way to find it (without risking career, etc).

Anyway, I'm willing to give Jobs a pass and assume everything was above-board. If reporters discover this was a corrupt shambles, then I'll be the first person to be upset.

Why am I giving him a pass? We're in the same fraternity. No one wants to be in the cancer club, but I choose to think that facing death makes someone turn to faith and find goodness.

Is that naive? Perhaps, but I still don't know if I'm going to make it. Rather than dying a cynic, I'd prefer to believe that good people win, and the will to live will beat unbeatable odds. Insured, not insured... I don't think it matters as long as you fight like heck to stick around.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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