Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs joined California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto to announce new legislation aimed at simplifying the organ donation process for Californians.
“Organ donation is one of the kindest, most generous and powerful actions that each and every one of us can take. With thousands of people in California and throughout the nation currently waiting for a transplant, this legislation represents a new and important resource to increase donor rates,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I am excited to partner with the legislature to implement this life-saving legislation and make California a leader in organ donations.”
A press release from the governor’s office states Senator Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) is the author of the legislation, SB 1395, which includes the California Living Donor Registry for kidney transplants, the nation’s first registry of its kind.
The registry will help expedite the process for donors wanting to connect with kidney transplant recipients. The three types of donations are:
• Direct donation, in which a living donor provides an organ for a known transplant candidate.
• Paired exchanges, where a donor and transplant candidate are assisted by the registry in locating another pair who are presented with a like problem.
• Non-directed donation, where a donor connects with a non-specific recipient who is a good medical match.
It is expected that the legislation has the potential to save countless lives. More than 100,000 people in the US are currently waiting for an organ transplant, with over 21,000 Californians on that list.
The legislation implements a system whereby Californians can choose to register as organ donors by answering a mandated question at the time of their driver license renewal/application process or through the state ID card application process.
Jobs, private about his personal life, spoke briefly at the hospital gathering. While rumors have persisted for some time, the gathering was his first public appearance regarding his liver transplant.
According to a report in the Mercury News, he said “there were simply not enough livers in California to go around, and my doctors here advised me to enroll in a transplant program in Memphis, where the supply-demand ratio of livers is more favorable than it is in California.” He added: “I was very fortunate. Many others died while waiting to receive one.”
He shared his experience with Maria Shriver, California first lady, at a Christmas event last year. From there, the donor idea formed.