Steve Jobs had liver transplant surgery in 2009 and died two years later. His untimely passing saddened people all over the world, but in his final years, he had no regrets.
Earlier in 2009, Apple President Steve Jobs had been diagnosed with terminal-stage liver cancer. The doctor told him that liver transplant surgery needed to be done immediately to save his life, and Jobs consented to the surgery.
The hospital immediately put him on the waiting list for a liver transplant at the California Liver Center.
However, there were dozens of transplant patients ahead of Jobs on the waiting list and it took more than 10 months until a donor could be found.
In order to save the life of this extraordinary man as soon as possible, the hospital registered Jobs on waiting lists for liver transplants in various different states. This procedure was legal under federal law in the United States. The doctors knew it was a race against time to get Jobs the new liver his life depended on.
At the time, the shortest waiting period was in Tennessee, where it would only take six weeks for Jobs to receive a liver. So Jobs was put at the end of the list of those awaiting a liver transplant in the state of Tennessee.
For patients who need urgent liver transplants, every second count. Each day that Jobs had to wait was one day off of his fragile life. A friend of the business mogul went to speak to the hospital director, hoping that he could use his privilege to place Jobs in the first group of patients to receive a transplant.
But upon hearing the request, the hospital director obviously disapproved. He spread his arms, shrugged, and said: “By what right does Jobs belong in that first group? If Jobs gets a transplant first, then what about the other patients? All patients are equal.”
While Jobs’s friend was saddened by the director’s refusal, he had no choice but to focus his efforts elsewhere.
Another friend of Jobs went to Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (2003-2011), hoping that Bredesen could intercede and use his privilege to send a message to the hospital, or even make a special directive so that Jobs could receive his life-saving transplant first.
As the Governor listened to this request, the smile on his face disappeared. He looked Jobs’s friend in the eye and emulated the words of the doctor.
“What privilege do you think I have?” he said. “Approve what? What do you mean? I don’t have the right to do that! No one has the privilege to let anyone get a transplant earlier or later. All lives are equal,” he summarized, “people have to line up in order.”
An adviser even suggested to Jobs himself: “See if you can bribe the staff involved so you can get to the top of the transplant list.”
Jobs listened to this dubious advice, and said with a surprised look: “You can’t be serious! That’s against the law. My life is just like everyone else’s, we all have to wait in line.”
No one could help Jobs, despite his wealth and fame. Patients who needed liver transplantation before Jobs were ordinary employees, housewives, the elderly, and the unemployed. All of them were waiting in line for a second chance at life.
Steve Jobs, pictured shortly before his death (Huong Hoang Thu/ Facebook)
Six weeks later, Jobs finally received the liver transplant he so desperately needed. But due to the long waiting time, the cancer cells in the former businessman’s body had already metastasized. Ultimately, the transplant only extended Jobs’s life for two years.
However, Jobs did not regret a single thing.
In the last two years of his life, he continued to develop innovative products for Apple, only stopping work when he could simply carry on no more.
Walter Isaacson, the former CEO of CNN, was the only person Steve Jobs trusted to write his biography. Speaking of Jobs’s attitude toward the transplant procedure, Isaacson wrote:
“Life itself makes no distinction between high and low: all lives are equal.”
“Equality is not a slogan,” he continued, “equality is not for show; equality is not an exchange; It is the most vivid and specific manifestation of life.
“It is as clear as the bright moon, and its light shines on everything, with a radiance that helps us to see the essence of humanity,” Isaacson shared, “shining directly to the most compassionate place in our hearts.”
(Zain Goplani/ Facebook)
This is the truth. People come into this world with empty hands and leave with nothing more. Facing the rules of birth, aging, illness, and death in human life, it doesn’t matter whether a person is rich or poor.
Nobility and virtue are the most precious assets of human life, and this is the heartfelt message of Steve Jobs’s final years.