There's one more thing: you can all have one.
April 26, 2010 11:27 AM   Subscribe

How Steve Jobs Got Sick, Got Better, And Decided To Save Some Lives (previously)
posted by Baldons (49 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
did you just reference kaavya viswanathan in this title? wow.
posted by krautland at 11:36 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


A much better legacy than the iPad or a faster iPhone.
posted by benzenedream at 11:38 AM on April 26, 2010


It remains a frustration for me that basic, common-sense ideas like "hey, let's ask everyone about organ donation when they renew their driver's license" remain unimplemented simply because nobody will listen to the interested lawmakers when they bring it up. That is, until someone with money and connections comes along and starts pulling strings. THEN things loosen up and new policies get put in place. And this example costs basically nothing to put in place, and has a lot of potential for good.

It feels sometimes like our government really doesn't even notice the common people most of the time. Thanks, SJ, for stepping up and making your state do something so simple and yet so profound.
posted by hippybear at 11:42 AM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Contacts for donor registration in your state
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:44 AM on April 26, 2010


Funny sidestory: this young intern in Memphis, in a hurry but stopping by a bar for a quick beer, forgot the small styrofoam cooler...
posted by hal9k at 11:45 AM on April 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


And what I like about Steve is, because he is a wealthy man, we all know that and that helped him get the transplant. But he doesn't want that, that only wealthy people can get the transplant and have a plane waiting to take him anywhere he needs to go. He wants every human being, if you have no money at all or if you're the richest person in the world, everyone ought to have the right to get immediately a transplant.

Thanks Aanold, but I think it's more than "having the right," but also having insurance (or the money, somewhere around $314,600 for the first year, and $21,900 for annual follow-ups) to cover the procedures. Then there's the fact many people don't have a month of additional sick leave to cover their recovery.

This is a great thing, but there are more health insurance hurdles between known organ availability and having that new organ inside someone.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:45 AM on April 26, 2010


There are states that don't ask about organ donation? In the....5 states I've gotten licenses in, not one of them has failed to ask me.
posted by DU at 11:45 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve acted fast. According to one source, Steve had the local lawyers at Burch,Porter & Johnson create a limited-liability corporation (LLC) called LCHG LLC and buy the nicest mansion in Memphis's wealthiest neighborhood on March 17, 2009.

Why did he do this? Why didn't he just buy it directly?
posted by Mwongozi at 11:46 AM on April 26, 2010


And that, O Best Beloved, is why, from that day to this, Steve Jobs has been known as a generous man who owns five and a half billion dollars, while everyone else struggles to go to the doctor.
posted by vorfeed at 11:47 AM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why did he do this? Why didn't he just buy it directly?

Two reasons, that I can think of. First, not to tip anyone off that he was moving. Second, to keep his name out of it so the sellers didn't try to push the price up.
posted by jedicus at 11:49 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's ironic that until Windows 7, products identified with Bill Gates tended to be less stylish than those identified with Steve Jobs. And yet here we are today, where the Gates Foundation is saving literally millions of lives (its lobbying against the freeing of IP for emergent, developing nation generic pharma notwithstanding) and Windows 7 actually looks reasonably presentable. Meanwhile, Jobs seems to have caught the public humanitarian bug a bit late, and it took a personally terminal disease to shock him into it. Maybe being the head of a convicted monopolist corporation is character building? Should the world's less fortunate pray for an Itunes DoJ investigation?
posted by meehawl at 11:55 AM on April 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


There are states that don't ask about organ donation? In the....5 states I've gotten licenses in, not one of them has failed to ask me.

nah, they're the ones who need proof of citizenship first




btw, I must confess to being pleasantly surprised on clicking through to RTFA because cynical me saw the FPP and thought iPoverty or some such had been launched to great fanfare.
posted by infini at 12:02 PM on April 26, 2010


Cool, so after deceiving Apple shareholders about his severe health problems, and having absolutely no history of philanthropy (he actually terminated all of Apple's philanthropy programs upon his return to the company), he's getting kudos for basically just putting in the good word on a bill that should already be law?
posted by mullingitover at 12:06 PM on April 26, 2010 [28 favorites]


"Why did he do this? Why didn't he just buy it directly?" heh...for a moment I thought you meant the liver...
posted by HuronBob at 12:07 PM on April 26, 2010 [10 favorites]


@krautland: ha! No, I just plagiarised Nicholas Carlson's title - but you can take my act as a hommage to Viswanathan, if you like.
posted by Baldons at 12:08 PM on April 26, 2010


Wow, I didn't realize it was like that in California. Here in Ohio they ask you if you want to be a donor, so I've just always assumed it's like that in every state. I mean, there's no cost, it's purely beneficial to do things that way, so it's pretty weird and sad that it's not the same in every state.
posted by palidor at 12:13 PM on April 26, 2010


When I signed up for my driver's license when I moved to California, I had the strangest experience. When I said I wanted to be an organ donor, the DMV guy tried talking me out of it, with lines like "you know, they can like chop your head off and use it to test motorcycle helmets and stuff." It was really, really weird. Fortunately, it didn't sway me and I have the little "Donor" dot on my license. I wonder how successful he's been in getting people to not sign up. In hindsight, I probably should have reported him.
posted by zsazsa at 12:33 PM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hello, uh, can we have your liver? (Youtube, Monty Python, extraordinarily NSFW or lunch)
posted by zippy at 12:45 PM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


In incredible what an impact is made by the manner in which you ask the organ donation question. Dan Ariely takes a fascinating look at this in his TED talk.

I'm all for having to explicitly opt out of anything optional that is for the common good.
posted by CaseyB at 12:47 PM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


"you know, they can like chop your head off and use it to test motorcycle helmets and stuff."

"Well, I'm not going to be using it any more, so why do I care?"
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:52 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


While more organ donors is a good thing, how is this bill different from how California's DMV handles donor registration now?

There's a checkbox on the CA driver's license application that asks if the applicant wants to become a donor, no extra form required. Similarly, there's a checkbox on the drivers license renewal form that is sent to the driver's registered address every few years. Additionally there's a link on the DMV website to sign up as an organ & tissue donor on the home page of California's DMV as well as on the driver license page. Signing up to be an organ donor via the DMV now is hardly an "obscure procedure," to quote Jobs.
posted by jamaro at 12:57 PM on April 26, 2010


jamaro, according to this link, apparently with the bill all someone will have to do is check a box, instead of having to fill out a separate form.
posted by zsazsa at 1:05 PM on April 26, 2010


It's ironic that until Windows 7, products identified with Bill Gates tended to be less stylish than those identified with Steve Jobs.

Um... and this... somehow changed with Windows 7 and iPad, for example?

You must get different TV stations than me. And different newspapers. And a different internet.
posted by rokusan at 1:06 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


zsazsa, there currently is no additional form* to fill out. There's just a checkbox and the DMV forwards your info to Donate Life California, which is the state authorized organ & tissue registry.

*Unless you want to sign up for the registry without applying for a license or ID card. Then there's a form, which one would expect because how else is the registry going to get one's info?
posted by jamaro at 1:11 PM on April 26, 2010


When I consider the vast list of things that might be considered "for the common good," depending on which administration is in power, I find the concept of having to opt out each and every one of those items, buried in the fine print on one form or another, to be ominous.

Opt in. Always opt in.
posted by adipocere at 1:19 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


adipocere: "When I consider the vast list of things that might be considered "for the common good," depending on which administration is in power, I find the concept of having to opt out each and every one of those items, buried in the fine print on one form or another, to be ominous. "

If we're talking about stealing organs from living people without their consent, yeah, I'm against that.

OTOH it seems like the obvious ethical stance in organ donation should be assumed consent across the board. The idea being, you're dead. Implicit in this state is the lack of any personal interest in your organs remaining in your body to rot. If you force people to make a conscious decision while they're alive about their organs being removed or not, a lot of people are going to decide not to just based on the emotional factor of, ew I don't want to get my kidneys taken out or think about being dead. So lots of people die because some people are making a conscious decision not to opt in, but for bad reasons. It shouldn't be like this.
posted by mullingitover at 1:31 PM on April 26, 2010


I'm all for having to explicitly opt out of anything optional that is for the common good.

Medical death isn't real death. In most cases, we imagine they coincide neatly. In a lot of cases, when they call it, your heart still works, your cells are perfectly healthy, and your brain still works - or has the potential to - and of course we don't know anything about how consciousness works. And in fact we don't know the full extent of the situations where electrocerebral silence is non-final. It's impossible to be certain a person is dead until cell death.

Cell death, of course, means that organs are non-viable. So organ transplants always happen before the donor has undergone cell death. Which means they always happen before we're certain you are dead, before your heart stops beating, before we're certain you can't be saved, before we're even certain you have no consciousness.

I think organ donation is good. Trading that last bit of barely-conscious-if-that time to benefit someone else immensely is a heroic and noble thing to do. It is the ultimate act of charity.

But under the regime you propose, the government gets to assume that some quality of life is not worth living, even if it would only last another 12 hours. The government gets to assume it has the right to kill its citizens when it would benefit society. Humanity has been down that road before, and the place it leads is very dark.
posted by thesmophoron at 1:40 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Opt in. Always opt in.

Yeah, I can see that side too. But look at the stats in the video I linked (just after the 5:00 mark). How many people have died because of the wording of that question?

Somehow I think it's fair to ask someone to check a box labeled "I'm a selfish prick", rather than let them quietly be a prick by default.
posted by CaseyB at 1:47 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


The government gets to assume it has the right to kill its citizens when it would benefit society. Humanity has been down that road before, and the place it leads is very dark.

Pretty sure the US does this, already, FWIW. And China. And Iran. And Saudi Arabia.
posted by Jimbob at 1:50 PM on April 26, 2010


Somehow I think it's fair to ask someone to check a box labeled "I'm a selfish prick", rather than let them quietly be a prick by default.

You can't think of a single religious, cultural, or personal reason for someone to choose not to donate their organs, other than being a selfish prick?
posted by rocket88 at 1:58 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


CaseyB, some of us aren't organ donation candidates, without being selfish pricks. When you are not a candidate, "No, thank you" doesn't seem to be enough when the Blood Drive comes around and someone finds it to be a worthy cause. They will keep at it. I don't necessarily feel like explaining that a decent sized transfusion of my blood or implantation of certain organs could make someone else sick and I do not need to be guilt-tripped on some form.
posted by adipocere at 1:58 PM on April 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


You can't think of a single religious, cultural, or personal reason for someone to choose not to donate their organs, other than being a selfish prick?

Just because it's religious, cultural or personal, doesn't mean it's not selfish. As the bumper sticker says "Don't take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here."
posted by Jimbob at 2:05 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can't think of a single religious, cultural, or personal reason for someone to choose not to donate their organs, other than being a selfish prick?

Of course. As adipocere points out, there are many valid reasons why someone would opt out.

Religious or "cultural" reasons? I guess I see those as excuses for being a selfish prick.
posted by CaseyB at 2:07 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


But under the regime you propose, the government gets to assume that some quality of life is not worth living

Well, no, at least not the way I read it. The government continues to have no input whatsoever on whether or not you're dead and whether it's time for organs to be donated. They simply a standard method for you to say whether or not you want the doctors to make that decision.
posted by inigo2 at 2:21 PM on April 26, 2010


Dan Ariely takes a fascinating look at this in his TED talk.

[ ] Check the box if you want to skip an excellent and funny presentation.
posted by davejay at 2:58 PM on April 26, 2010


Just because it's religious, cultural or personal, doesn't mean it's not selfish.

Religious or "cultural" reasons? I guess I see those as excuses for being a selfish prick.


Thankfully, most belief systems allow it and view it as a personal choice (a noble sentiment, imo).
I guess it's just the Roma, Shinto, and Native First Nations that are selfish pricks.
posted by rocket88 at 2:58 PM on April 26, 2010


Any religion that prohibits organ donation can go ahead and scratch "Force for good in the world" bullet point right off the resume.
posted by mullingitover at 4:09 PM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


In the near future we'll have computer aided driving that will drastically reduce the number of these organ donors.

It's crazy how now we just accept that driving a car makes you a potential organ donor.
posted by bhnyc at 4:12 PM on April 26, 2010


Weird, I'm pretty sure I was asked or it is pretty plain on the application for a driver's license a choice to become a donor when I got my license last year in California. Sure, no one at the DMV specifically asked me if I wanted to or not, but it wasn't like it was this huge secret. Then again, I'm old school and remember the public service campaigns from my youth about being a donor. It is the same with registering to vote.

But if a few more people get on the donor list because of it, then more power to 'em. When I croak, people can have at whatever parts they need since I won't be using them anymore.
posted by birdherder at 4:40 PM on April 26, 2010


I have elected to be an organ donor because as a member of the dominant ethnicity of this country, I have a reasonable expectation of being either the donor or the recipient of some late person's largesse, and of receiving the benefit of the doubt should my vital signs convey, let us say, mixed signals.

Many uninsured (or nominally insured) brown people known personally to me have elected not to be organ donors on the not-unreasonable assumption that they might be harvested with undue haste, should some misfortune befall them.

I think both of us have a point. What can Jobs (or anybody else) do about that?
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:44 PM on April 26, 2010


(he actually terminated all of Apple's philanthropy programs upon his return to the company)

Sure, that sounds bad now, but quite frankly, the way Apple was the day he walked back in the door, it could have quite conceivably been out of business in weeks. Why they aren't back to the level they were is worthy of investigation now that Apple is profitable (and boy, is it,) but at that point Apple was hemorrhaging like crazy, and cutting things like that may have bought them the time to make a near impossible turn around.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:26 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


the not-unreasonable assumption that they might be harvested with undue haste, should some misfortune befall them.

I just cannot believe this is not-unreasonable. Has it happened, ever? Probably you could find a case somewhere. But as a reason to refuse to help others, its paranoid and selfish.

As a side note, I remember the day I first had to mark down donation prefs, I agreed to offer all my organs... except my eyes. That just creeped me out for some reason. When it came time to renew, I was older and wiser, and withdrew that exception. Still creeps me out though.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:29 PM on April 26, 2010


Many uninsured (or nominally insured) brown people known personally to me have elected not to be organ donors on the not-unreasonable assumption that they might be harvested with undue haste, should some misfortune befall them.

whoa... I never even thought it from this angle... sigh, melanin, what has thou wrought?
posted by infini at 7:01 AM on April 27, 2010


John Kenneth Fisher: "Sure, that sounds bad now, but quite frankly, the way Apple was the day he walked back in the door, it could have quite conceivably been out of business in weeks."

Perhaps, but that hasn't been a good excuse for over ten years. Apple has a bigger market cap than Wal-Mart right now.
posted by mullingitover at 11:51 AM on April 27, 2010


In the near future we'll have computer aided driving that will drastically reduce the number of these organ donors.

I suspect that by the time that has a significant impact on collision reduction, we'll be growing as many replacement organs as we like in vats, so it all works out fine.
posted by rokusan at 12:43 PM on April 27, 2010


mullingitover:Apple has a bigger market cap than Wal-Mart right now."

Because if there's one thing Enron and Worldcom and @Home and TWC-AOL taught us, it's that market cap is a valid way to prognosticate about a multinational corporation.
posted by meehawl at 8:13 PM on April 27, 2010


meehawl: "Because if there's one thing Enron and Worldcom and @Home and TWC-AOL taught us, it's that market cap is a valid way to prognosticate about a multinational corporation."

I feel pretty safe prognosticating that they could have afforded to reinstate their philanthropy programs a long time ago, if El Jobso gave a crap about philanthropy.
posted by mullingitover at 8:58 PM on April 27, 2010


It's crazy how now we just accept that driving a car makes you a potential organ donor.

Heh
posted by pompomtom at 10:36 PM on April 27, 2010


Extending the Life of Donated Organs: An experimental solution could buy time for transplant patients.
posted by homunculus at 1:27 PM on May 4, 2010


« Older In the grand tradition of John Wayne1, Mickey Rour...  |  The Story of Dynamite (1925) a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments