March 13, 2021

World premiere: Dutch hospital to recycle costly cancer medication

Filed under: Dutch first,Health,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 3:22 pm

The Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, Gelderland together with Dutch hospitals Jeroen Bosch ziekenhuis, St. Antonius and UMC Utrecht are setting up a trial to reuse unused costly oncology medication.

In the Netherlands at least 100 million euro worth of medication is thrown away each year, waste that increases the cost of healthcare. Too much medication is being prescribed, which leads to environmental waste because it often ends up in nature.

Of course, the ‘recycled’ medication will be subjected to rigorous quality control from pharmacists, with a temperature chip added to the sealed packaging. Based on the results, the RUMC will see if they cannot implement the program in more places.


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January 24, 2017

Amstelveen hospital wants to deliver Amsterdam’s babies

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 9:58 pm


While 20% of pregnant women from Amsterdam were being refused access to three main hospitals in 2016 because there was not enough personnel and beds, a hospital in the neighbouring city of Amstelveen wants to declare maternity space in their hospital as ‘territory of Amsterdam’ to help them out. In 2015 only 7% of Amsterdam’s women were refused at hospitals, but that was before one major hospital shut down their maternity ward. As well, note that this is happening in a country with one of the highest percentage of home births in the world, about 30%, so imagine if more women decided to give birth in a hospital.

Besides wanting to help out women from Amsterdam with additional maternity ward space, the personnel of Amstelveen understands how much people from Amsterdam want to be able to have ‘born in Amsterdam’ on their children’s birth certificate and passports. To give you an idea, when you meet someone Dutch and ask them if they are from Amsterdam, you rarely get a nod or a ‘yeah’, you often get a ‘I was born and raised in Amsterdam!’.

In a similar vein, in 2011 the mayor of the island of Terschelling wanted to have part of a hospital in Leeuwarden declared ‘territory of Terschelling’ in order to claim more island babies, but that didn’t pan out.

(Links:,,, Image: Flag of Amsterdam, public domain)

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July 22, 2015

Single women unlawfully excluded from IVF treatment

Filed under: Health,Science by Orangemaster @ 9:58 am

A survey conducted by women’s magazine ‘Opzij’ showed that single women are refused IVF treatment at 19 out of the 39 Dutch hospitals they researched, indicating discrimination. They are often told to go somewhere else with better facilities like a sperm bank or with counselling to avoid telling them flat out they won’t treat single women. The hospitals’ moral view is often that ‘a child should have two parents’, but it is illegal to refuse someone based on their single ‘lifestyle’. On the other hand, a history of abuse or addiction is a good reason to refuse treatment to someone.

Frank Broekmans of the Dutch association of gynaecologists and obstetrician says hospitals that refuse to perform IVF are not acting unlawfully because enough hospitals can cater to single women and it’s not necessary medical attention. He also believes a child is not well-served by having only one parent, but again, that’s discrimination even if it is a widely-held belief.

Bart Fauser of the UMC Utrecht hospital, the same hospital where Broekmans works and the most friendly towards single women looking for IVF treatment, says that there is no scientific proof that children of a single parent have a worse time of it. Once Fauser tried to screen a couple before an IVF treatment and he was heavily criticised, leading him to believe that couples always seem to have the right to decide what’s best for them, but not single women.

All I know is that Belgium has more IVF clinics, and like for many procedures including childbirth (if I can continue to believe the people around me), Dutch residents cross the border to get treated without the hassles they experience in the Netherlands.


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November 6, 2012

Dermatologists run secret company at hospital, all fired

Filed under: Health by Orangemaster @ 3:02 pm

All four dermatologists of the Catharina Ziekenhuis in Eindhoven were running a cosmetic dermatology company on the side without the hospital’s permission and are being fired for it, albeit not on the spot, as they have six months more to go.

Some 168 patients paid out a total of 24,000 euro in cash or by invoice, and some even paid for costs already covered by their insurance. The specialists also used hospital equipment and letterhead, but a separate bank account to keep it on the down low.


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July 14, 2011

Mice running amok in Amsterdam hospital

Filed under: Animals,General,Health by Orangemaster @ 4:34 pm

No, not the lab rats, but actually little grey mice that are not a symbol of hygiene in Dutch folklore. The VU medical centre is being overrun by mice. They’ve always had some mice, but now there are a lot more. The hospital blames the nearby construction, which sounds plausible. “They are digging, and the mice flee and find somewhere else to hide.”

Other gripes include the hospital’s pneumatic tube system that carries patient files get stuck, and when that happens, patients waiting for an operation are at risk. A doctor even said that, ”sometimes, the system works so poorly that a blood sample gets broken and blood pours out when we retreive the post.”

All of Amsterdam, those cute houses on the canals, and apparently hospitals, have mice.


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June 9, 2010

Free movie tickets to watch a live operation

Filed under: Film,Health,Science,Weird by Orangemaster @ 9:17 am

Coming to a theatre near us: On 1 July, surgeons of Amsterdam’s Slotervaart hospital are going to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass, a stomach operation that is done through small incisions, and project it live in the capital’s Pathé Tuschinski theatre. The operation is a big matinee from 8:30 to 11:30 and will be performed on someone who is obese and needs the operation to survive. According to the hospital, it is a ‘very difficult operation that is only performed by a few Dutch hospitals’.

The audience will be able to ask questions about the operation to a doctor in the room who will then ask the surgeons performing the surgery.

Tickets are free, scroll down here to Gastric Bypass to send an e-mail and score some tickets.


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October 28, 2009

Man found not guilty after blacking out hospital

Filed under: Gaming,General,Health by Branko Collin @ 8:58 am

Jan H. thought he was playing the Silent Hill video game when he shut down the electricity at the Sophia hospital in Zwolle last Queen’s Day.

Last Tuesday a court found him not guilty, simply because he had no idea of the true consequences of his deeds. H. has volunteered to undergo treatment.

Telegraaf reports that the 35-year-old was suffering a psychosis when he stepped into the hospital’s basement. By pulling levers and switches, he thought he could win a tooth brush. The power was down for 45 minutes during which patients in the intensive care unit had to be respirated manually and lifts got stuck. No patients suffered any lasting consequences, according to RTV Oost.

Silent Hill is a survival horror game, a sub-genre of the action adventure.

Update 30-10: added a link to the verdict.

(Photo of the old building of the Sophia hospital (1884) by Wikimedia user Arminiuzz, some rights reserved)

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August 15, 2009

Lucia de B., angel or witch? [HAR 2009]

Filed under: Science by Branko Collin @ 10:35 pm

I just turned away from the lock-picking talk, as the tent was absolutely packed (me being 5 minutes late). I don’t know how many people fit in these convention tents, hundreds, perhaps thousands, but that is the amount of people that after tonight may know how to break every lock you own.

Earlier today I was at the talk with possibly the smallest amount of listeners of this 4-day exercise, you might even say the attendants resembled Cantor Dust. OK, lousy statistical jokes aside, this talk was by statistician Richard Gill of the University of Leiden and dealt with the Lucia de Berk case.

I had heard of the case before. In 2001, a nurse from The Hague was accused of having murdered dozens of patients, and the strange thing was that most of her guilt was determined by statistics: she had been near the victims at the time of their deaths, and although a direct link with the accused in the form of a confession or evidence could not be established, the court found that the statistical likelihood of her being near all these victims at the time of death was so minute, she must have done it.

At the time I thought this reasoning seemed silly, but I have learned early on in life never to argue with statisticians. So imagine my surprise: here was a statician who argued that the court’s reason had indeed been extremely silly, and that an innocent woman had gone to jail.

I won’t bore you with repeating the entire lecture: author Maarten ‘t Hart summarized Gill’s position excellently in this article from NRC (Dutch). Gill’s paper on how likely the chance is that a nurse was on active duty during all deaths concludes that one in nine nurses would have gone to jail (PDF).


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January 19, 2008

High Dutch infant mortality rate has causes

Filed under: General,Science by Orangemaster @ 12:15 pm

Two Dutch gynaecologists have published a report which shows that more babies die at night and on the weekend in Dutch hospitals compared with weekdays. At night, the mortality rate is nearly 25% higher, and 7% higher on the weekend.

The gynaecologists say it is due to the absence of gynaecologists. At night and on the weekend, deliveries are performed by assistants who are less likely to request the assistance of a fully qualified gynaecologist if there is not one around. This situation reportedly leads to the deaths of 35 to 40 babies a year.

The two gynaecologists write that the Dutch obstetric system is under pressure. Recently published EU figures show that infant mortality in the Netherlands is above the European average. The report’s authors also wonder whether the traditional Dutch emphasis on home deliveries is still acceptable.

Well, if you know you’re going to give birth at night on on a weekend, maybe you’d better do it at home after all, which is still where many Dutch women give birth. According to women I once met working for Access NL, an organisation that supports expats and the likes, one of the major cultural shocks between other Western cultures and the Dutch for many women is how pregnancies are monitored.


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