When Steve Jobs died in 2011 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56, it was devastating news everywhere.
Two-and-a-half years before his death, he underwent a life-saving liver transplant. But, did Jobs use his fame and fortune to obtain a liver ahead of other desperately ill patients who were also on the waiting list?
INSIDE EDITION's Lisa Guerrero asked Dr. James Eason of Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute, "There's been a lot of questions out there about your relationship with Steve Jobs. Can you tell me if Steve Jobs received preferential treatment?"
"Well, every patient that comes to this hospital gets preferential treatment,” Dr. Eason replied. “If your life is at stake, you absolutely want to go somewhere where you think you're going to get the best care."
Dr. Eason was the surgeon from Memphis, Tennessee who performed the liver transplant on the Apple co-founder. But Jobs wasn't from Memphis. He lived in Palo Alto, California, the heart of Silicon Valley where he was already on the waiting list. He had the financial resources to travel anywhere, so like other patients before him, he legally put himself on another transplant list in Memphis where the population is smaller and there's less competition for a matching liver.
Guerrero went to the home where Steve Jobs lived in while he was recovering from his life-saving liver transplant. But now, questions are being asked about the man who owns the home today—the doctor who performed the surgery.
"Some reports have suggested that you lived in that house for up to two years without paying bills. Is that true?" Guerrero asked Dr. Eason.
"I think those suggestions are unfair and uh, uh, inaccurate," Dr. Eason insisted.
According to The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, after two years of living in the house virtually rent-free, Dr. Eason bought it for $850,000.
"People are really worried,” explained Dr. Tia Powell, Director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Bioethics in New York City. “They're worried that the system is unfair and that there's cheating. They're really worried that somebody famous is going to buy their way in."
Dr. Eason says he did nothing wrong and wouldn't do anything differently.
"In retrospect now, do you regret having bought that home because of all these questions?" asked Guerrero.
"I'm very proud that I am able to live in that home and it has a great sentimental value to me, replied. Dr. Eason. “So no, I have no regrets,"