UPDATE: Hospital spokeswoman Ruth Ann Hale declined to add any more information to hospital’s statement. She would not say when the transplant was performed (the Wall Street Journal said about two months ago); how long Steve Jobs had been on the transplant waiting list; nor where the donor organ came from. “We’re not saying anything beyond what it says in the statement,” she said by phone on Tuesday night. It’s safe to assume the donor liver came from a deceased patient — otherwise Jobs wouldn’t be on a waiting list. But the lack of a time frame for the operation is curious. Perhaps it’s to protect the identity of the donor? If the time of the operation is known, maybe it makes it easier to identify potential donors?
Methodist University Hospital in Memphis has confirmed that Steve Jobs had a liver transplant — and the disclosure was made with Jobs’s permission, the hospital says.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the hospital said Jobs was the sickest person on the waiting list at the time the donor organ became available.
The hospital’s statement is likely in response to growing questions about the transplant. On Tuesday morning, the New York Times published a high-profile story asking whether Jobs’s money and power helped him to jump to the front of the queue. “Whenever someone rich and famous receives a transplant, suspicions inevitably arise about whether that person managed to jump to the head of the waiting list and take an organ that might have saved the life of somebody just as desperate but less glamorous,” the paper said.
The hospital’s statement appears to be a flat denial that Jobs received any preferential treatment.
“He received a liver transplant because he was the patient with the highest MELD score (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) of his blood type and, therefore, the sickest patient on the waiting list at the time a donor organ became available,” the hospital said.
The hospital said Jobs is doing well.
“Mr. Jobs is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis.”
Full text of the statement after the jump.
I am pleased to confirm today, with the patient’s permission, that Steve Jobs received a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in partnership with the University of Tennessee in Memphis. Mr. Jobs underwent a complete transplant evaluation and was listed for transplantation for an approved indication in accordance with the Transplant Institute policies and United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) policies. He received a liver transplant because he was the patient with the highest MELD score (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) of his blood type and, therefore, the sickest patient on the waiting list at the time a donor organ became available. Mr. Jobs is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis.
The Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute performed 120 liver transplants in 2008 making it one of the ten largest liver transplant centers in the United States. We provide transplants to patients regardless of race, sex, age, financial status, or place of residence. Our one-year patient and graft survival rates are among the best in the nation and were a dominant reason in Mr. Jobs’s choice of transplant centers. We respect and protect every patient’s private health information and cannot reveal any further information on the specifics of Mr. Jobs’s case.
James D. Eason, M.D.
Program Director, Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute
Professor of Surgery, Chief of Transplantation, University of Tennessee Health Science Center