Sunday, 22 February 2009

A True Hero

An uplifting piece for a change that brought a tear to my hard bitten old eyes. In the FT of 21st Feb there was a lengthy obituary to a Dutch Doctor, Willem 'Plim' Kolff, 1911-2009. In summary during the Nazi occupation of Holland he helped many people escape labour camps & worse. He also somehow managed to invent & build the world's first successful kidney dialysis machine. It didn't work first time & patients died. The first success was on a Nazi collaborator. Kolff said " We have to treat patients when they need help even if we don't like them". He went on to lead the development of an artificial heart; man made eye; artificial ear; and one of the first sophisticated prosthetic arms. He believed that his work should benefit everyone, not just one individual, so he never patented any of it.

In an era where the philosophy seems to be that if you are not a rotton bastard you are a stupid bastard we can only pray that there are still people like him out there.

No comments: