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Classic Lasker

Mar 10, 2023

After meeting a young man dying of renal failure, Willem Kolff could not shake the thought that there was a simple solution: remove urea from the blood. Using sausage skin and an enamel tub, Kolff made the rotating drum artificial kidney. This was the beginning of renal hemodialysis, now a widely used intervention for those suffering from kidney failure.

In this 2002 interview, Kolff shares stories from his nearly seven-decade career, which began in pre-war Holland and took him all the way to the University of Utah. 

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Find the entire 49-minute video here: