Bloomberg: Apple CEO Jobs’ travel to Tennessee for liver transplant shows organ system flaws

“Steve Jobs, Apple Inc.’s chief executive officer, got a liver transplant quickly because of a U.S. system that favors patients with the means to rush to geographic areas where there is less competition for organs,” John Lauerman and Connie Guglielmo report for Bloomberg.

“Memphis, where Jobs got the transplant, is one of several U.S. meccas for liver patients who can afford to travel, doctors said. Flight records show Jobs’s personal jet flew at least six times this year from California, with one of the longest transplant lists in the U.S., to Memphis, where the wait is shorter,” Lauerman and Guglielmo report.

“Jobs, 54, got his transplant in part because regions can keep donated organs on a local list — even when there may be sicker patients not far away. His experience spotlights organ allocation practices that have been under fire for decades and will be discussed at a national public meeting the United Network for Organ Sharing in Richmond, Virginia, plans for later this year, doctors said,” Lauerman and Guglielmo report.

“Memphis is part of Region 11 of the United Network for Organ Sharing, which administers the U.S. organ waiting list and allocation system. As of June 30, 2008, there were 4,120 patients on the list for livers in Region 5, which includes California, compared with 1,084 patients listed in Region 11, according to the registry of transplant recipients,” Lauerman and Guglielmo report. “On the same date, there were 594 patients on the list at Stanford University Medical Center, 14 miles from Apple headquarters, compared with 98 at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, where Jobs had his surgery.”

“Jobs’s Gulfstream V, a business jet made by General Dynamics Corp. of Falls Church, Virginia, flew into Memphis at least 10 times between March 24 and May 21 this year, according to flight records Bloomberg News obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Whether Jobs was on those flights couldn’t be confirmed,” Lauerman and Guglielmo report.

Full article here.

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