WSJ: Steve Jobs Had Liver Transplant ‘About Two Months’ Ago

Yukari Iwatani and Joann S. Lublin, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

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.

This must be a deliberate, timed leak from Apple. The timing is simply perfect from Apple’s perspective — midnight on the Friday of what appears to be the most successful new product launch in company history.

But two things strike me about this story. First, the WSJ offers no source for this information — not even an “according to sources close to the matter”. But yet they state it flatly as certain fact. That’s highly unusual. And whoever their source, they didn’t give the WSJ any publishable information regarding why Jobs needed a new liver — that part of the article is pure speculation. My guess is that the source is rock solid but gave the information only on the condition of complete unsourced anonymity. Curious no matter what, though.

Second, why Tennessee? Tennessee is a lovely state but, well, it doesn’t sound like Steve Jobs country. You don’t need to leave the Bay area to get world-class medical treatment. Here’s the answer:

The specifics of Mr. Jobs’s surgery couldn’t be established, but 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.

Saturday, 20 June 2009