Dr. Henri Lokkerbol Head of Radiotherapy

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Dr Henri Lokkerbol. Head of Radiotherapy 1945-1964.  

The new head of the radiology department faces a serious challenge. Most of the radiotherapy machines and the radium were already out of date before the war, and the experimental 1 MV machine did turn out not to be a success. After Den Hoed and Levie left in 1940, the Radiology department deteriorated with obsolete radiotherapy techniques and equipment. In 1945, at the end of the war, the staff is also depleted, and the exchange of ideas with colleagues in England and the USA has been sorely missed.

Radiologist Dr. Lokkerbol is appointed head of the department on the suggestion of Professor van Ebbenhorst Tengbergen. Lokkerbol confronted his mentor with the fact that there is little attention paid to radiotherapy in the radiology training curriculum. He answers that "you should just give 10 x 200 r, which will not really help, but then you will also not get into trouble with it either". However, the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) requires higher standards and Dr. Lokkerbol is sent to the Christie Hospital in Manchester to follow a course in modern radiotherapy under the supervision of Professor Ralston Paterson.

"A Helping Hand": In this way, Paterson fulfills his plans for a post-war support programme in which British radiotherapy departments provide aid to the war stricken departments of the European colleagues. He initiated this plan in 1943, published in the British Journal of Radiology under the title "A Helping Hand". In the period from 1945 to approximately 1963, Paterson assisted the NKI by providing advice and training for physicians and physicists.

Lokkerbol returns to Manchester after the first training to keep up to date with new developments, and up until 1964 subsequent radiation oncologists from the NKI under his supervision travel to Manchester for training. One of the last to do so was Dr. J. Marion V. Burgers.

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International students on training course at Christies Hospital in 1962. Photo taken in front of the house of Professor Paterson. 2nd from left: Dr. J Marion V. Burgers (NKI-AVL). Center, next to the pillar: Professor Ralston Paterson.