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Americans raise funds for transplant pioneer Kolff's 1940s 'home'

'Save the Kampen Hospital'

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

KAMPEN, the Netherlands - A public relations and fundraising drive to save the 1913 Kampen, Overijssel municipal hospital from demolition also has Americans respond to its appeal. Californian John R. de Palma has set up the Willem J. Kolff Fund and plans to raise $1 million. The fund is named after the Dutch-American scientist who in 1943 developed the world's first kidney dialysis machine in his laboratory in the Kampen hospital. Kolff (now 88) emigrated to the U.S. in 1950.

Backed by Prof. Kolff, who will hold a series of benefit lectures, the American fund wants to contribute considerably to Dutch efforts to raise the required $2.7 million so the building can be preserved and become part of the city core redevelopment. Earlier, Kampen's municipal council had decided that the abandoned hospital was to be razed to make room for a new care center. A Dutch lobby group wants the municipality to reconsider its decision. Also, the Dutch Culture Ministry was implored to reconsider its decision to refuse the hospital a protected site designation.

The ‘Save the Kampen Hospital’ drive has found supporters far and wide, mainly because of the link of the hospital with Kolff's life-saving invention. The renowned scientist - born in Leiden - recently was in the Netherlands to give support to the effort.