Willem Kolff

Hi Folks

Maybe some of the folks on this message board have heard of this man. And maybe know that he just passed away.

Here is a the story from todays Times… http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/health/13kolff.html

the town where he was living is about 15 miles from me, I recall his know from somewhere ,but can’t place where I might have read it or saw it. Has this page ever talked about him?

Bob O’Brien

Hi Bobeleanor,

Willem Kolff invented the first real dialysis machine during WWII. You can see it here: http://www.homedialysis.org/learn/museum/. He was a true dialysis pioneer!

Hi Folks

Hi Dori

That is where I heard of him before. I knew I read something on him, just couldn’t place the name…

bob Obrien

Yesterday was his Birthday. He would have been 98. He invented the dialysis machine in Nazi occupied Holland. You don’t think of scientific research continuing under the circumstances but he did it.

This obituary tells you something of the man

[I]Willem Johan Kolff was born in Leiden, the Netherlands, on Feb. 14, 1911, the son of a doctor. Although his childhood goal was to become the director of a zoo, his father convinced him to study medicine instead, and he received his degree from Leiden University in 1938.

He was a staff physician at the University of Groningen in 1940 when Germany invaded the Netherlands. After the Jewish hospital director was replaced with a Nazi sympathizer, Kolff moved to a small hospital in Kampen, on the Zuider Zee, where he sat out the war.

Kolff aided the local resistance movement, providing medical “alibis” to help many escape detection. When the Germans attempted to take in one local resistance leader for questioning, Kolff withdrew two pints of blood from the man’s arm and had him drink it. Laboratory tests then showed that the man was anemic and had copious blood in his stool – signs of a severe ulcer.

The Germans did not question him because they assumed he would die shortly.

When the Germans invaded on May 19, 1940, Kolff happened to be at The Hague for a funeral. When he saw the German bombers, he excused himself from the ceremony and went to the city’s main hospital, where he volunteered to set up a blood bank.

With an armed escort, he drove through the city streets, dodging bombs and snipers and collecting bottles, tubing and all the other paraphernalia needed for storing blood. Within four days, he had established the first blood bank in Europe. It is still operating today.[/I]

What an amazing life Willem Kolff led–and just imagine everything he lived through! If he hadn’t been prevailed upon by his father to go into medicine, one has to wonder how long it would have taken for someone else to design a dialyzer–or if kidney failure would still be a terminal diagnosis today like it was back then.

Hi Folks

Lets not forget that Willem Kolff was know for helping not just kidney folks live. But a host of others ‘‘His artificial heart — though it carried the name of a colleague, Dr. Robert Jarvik’’

One has to stop and think that in a world where we have mass murders,we also have Willem Kolff .

Bob O’Brien

I talked to one of his colleagues from Germany, he has a youtube account and he made a tribute video to him. I posted his video and is featured on my blog, take a peek! :slight_smile: