IP in Health
This month, March, has been National Kidney Month. The purpose of National Kidney Month is to raise awareness about various forms of kidney disease that affect one in every 10 adults in the United States a number likely to rise due to bad dietary and lifestyle choices. Once the kidneys fail to function there are only two choices available - death or treatment by a dialysis machine. The kidney dialysis is the invention of a remarkable man -- Dr. Willem Kolff. Kolff is a Dutch physician born in 1911. One of his first patients was a 22 year old man who died of kidney failure. The death made an impact on Kolff and he began studying how to replace kidney function artificially. Just as Kolff’s research began to yield results World War 2 started. As a result Kolff found it difficult to find the parts he needed for his artificial kidney and his first machine was built from sausage casings, beverage cans, a washing machine, and anything else he could get his hands on in 1943. Although initially his machine was not effective he kept improving it and in 1945 a 67-year-old comatose woman was treated and she regained consciousness following 11 hours of hemodialysis with his machine dialyzer. Eventually she was discharged and lived lived for another seven years before dying from an unrelated condition. In spite of the success of his machine Kolff never applied for a patent on his invention and never received any royalties on his remarkable machine that saved the lives of countless individuals.
Leave a Reply.