Apple CEO Steve Jobs had liver transplant; on track to return to work at month’s end

“Steve Jobs, who has been on medical leave from Apple Inc. since January to treat an undisclosed medical condition, received a liver transplant in Tennessee about two months ago. The chief executive has been recovering well and is expected to return to work on schedule later this month, though he may work part-time initially,” Yukari Iwatani Kane and Joann S. Lublin report for The Wall Street Journal. “Mr. Jobs didn’t respond to an email requesting comment. ‘Steve continues to look forward to returning at the end of June, and there’s nothing further to say,’ said Apple spokeswoman Katie Cotton.”

MacDailyNews Note: On April 15, 2009, Alexander Haislip, of the PEHub Blog, which covers the private equity and venture capital business, wrote that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was moving to Memphis for medical reasons. Haislip wrote:

I spoke with a well-connected business person in Memphis this morning who says that there is a house in a swank neighborhood there that has been bought for a princely sum and is undergoing minor renovations in preparation for its new resident.

He says he has reason to believe Apple CEO Steve Jobs is moving to the city to treat his pancreatic cancer.

Normally, I’d just throw this out as wild speculation. Except St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis happens to be one of the best endocrinology centers in the world and one of the top oncology spots for kids. If there’s one place in the U.S. with researchers equipped to tackle Jobs’ health problems, St. Jude may be it.

Just to be clear, this is a single source tip. We’ve decided not to chase it further as it’s not about VCs, but I thought you might enjoy speculating about it.

Kane and Lublin continue, “When he does return, Mr. Jobs may be encouraged by his physicians to initially ‘work part-time for a month or two,’ a person familiar with the thinking at Apple said. That may lead Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, to take ‘a more encompassing role,’ this person said. The person added that Mr. Cook may be appointed to Apple’s board in the not-too-distant future.”

“At least some Apple directors were aware of the CEO’s surgery. As part of an agreement with Mr. Jobs in place before he went on leave, some board members have been briefed weekly on the CEO’s condition by his physician,” Kane and Lublin report.

“William Hawkins, a doctor specializing in pancreatic and gastrointestinal surgery at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., said that the type of slow-growing pancreatic tumor Mr. Jobs had will commonly metastasize in another organ during a patient’s lifetime, and that the organ is usually the liver. ‘All total, 75% of patients are going to have the disease spread over the course of their life,’ said Dr. Hawkins, who has not treated Mr. Jobs,” Kane and Lublin report. “Getting a liver transplant to treat a metastasized neuroendocrine tumor is controversial because livers are scarce and the surgery’s efficacy as a cure hasn’t been proved, Dr. Hawkins added. He said that patients whose tumors have metastasized can live for as many as 10 years without any treatment so it is hard to determine how successful a transplant has been in curing the disease.”

Kane and Lublin report, “According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the transplant network in the U.S., there are no residency requirements for transplants. Having the procedure done in Tennessee makes sense because its list of patients waiting for transplants is shorter than in many other states. According to data provided by UNOS, in 2006, the median number of days from joining the liver waiting list to transplant was 306 nationally. In Tennessee, it was 48 days… Anne Paschke, a UNOS spokeswoman, said the organization conducts random audits of transplant cases to ensure that organs are allocated fairly according to its rules.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We wish Mr. Jobs good health, a long life, and, if possible, at least some modicum of privacy.

MacDailyNews Note: Did you know that each organ and tissue donor saves or improves the lives of as many as 50 people? Each day, about 77 people receive organ transplants. However, 19 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs. Giving the “Gift of Life” may lighten the grief of the donor’s own family. Many donor families say that knowing other lives have been saved helps them cope with their tragic loss. More info about organ and tissue donation can be found here: OrganDonor.gov

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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