Father of Artificial Organs


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Dutch American doctor Willem Johan 'Pim' Kolff (1911-2009) invented the artificial kidney (1942) and the artificial heart (1957), therefore he's called the 'Father of Artificial Organs'. To this day his inventions routinely save millions of lives. His revolutionary machines, ideas and methods made him one of the true pioneers of medicine in the twentieth century. But what did it take to get there?
While his native country was occupied by Nazi Germany, Kolff built a machine beyond imagination to save kidney patients by rinsing their blood outside the body. Using sausage skin, a sewing machine, a Model T-Ford water pump, aluminum from a shot down airplane and a water basin from a pots and pans factory, Kolff's 'rotating drum artificial kidney' proved that machines indeed could replace human organs.
Moreover, he helped hundreds of people to escape the Nazis. He provided many of them with symptoms of illnesses and put them in his hospital or elsewhere. He even tucked away a Jewish boy, among his own children.
Kolff emigrated to the United States in 1950. During his astonishing career he changed the world of medicine. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize at least four times. He never stopped tinkering, not even during his retirement in Pennsylvania at the age of 94. 'When I get a new idea, I have to work on it. If I don't, I can't sleep because of it.'
In 'Father of Artificial Organs, the story of medical pioneer Willem Kolff, 1911-2009' biographer Herman Broers portrays a doctor and inspiring inventor, a hardball idealist who was tremendously successful, but paid a huge price.

'Every university needs a Kolff. But not more than one.'

Geschiedenis & Politiek
Historische biografieen
Aantal pagina’s
AERIE Auteurs Uitgevers
Eerste editie
30 oktober 2020
Laatste editie
30 oktober 2020

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