Dr. Lokkerbol leaves the NKI

Groepsfoto Lokkerbol en 4 meisjes.jpg 

Picture around 1963, Henri Lokkerbol with (from left to right): radiation therapists Carla Abma, Tonnie Breed-Regenboog, Joke de Vries and Ria Hilberink (head radiation therapist).

In addition to being a resourceful and enterprising radiation oncologist, Henri Lokkerbol was a creative engineer who realized devices and machines with which radiation techniques were improved. However, he was less successful in setting up the collaboration with other cancer institutes and with colleagues on a clinical and scientific level. The cooperation with physicists did not really get off to a good start either; they left after a few years. The Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) on its own was probably too small to support his large scale initiative to establish an image-guided cobalt unit.  Also the technical support in the NKI remained limited. Because of all this, his innovations could not be developed properly and teething troubles stayed unsolved for too long. 

Lokkerbol was closely involved in developing the training for radiation therapists. With this training he was more successful. As radiotherapy became more complex because of the initiatives of Henri Lokkerbol, the existing education of radiation therapists did not provide sufficient knowledge of modern radiotherapy.  Henri Lokkerbol, together with colleagues from the teaching hospital in Amsterdam, decided to organise a training course in Amsterdam. The course was successful and also other institutions  in the Netherlands sent staff to this training. 

Employees who worked for Dr Lokkerbol appreciated him for his dedication and the attention he had for them. But his solitary way of working did not fit very well into the modern development after the war, in which scientific approach and the multidisciplinary teamwork emerged.  He lost support from the medical staff of the institute. They were looking for a radiologist with a more scientific attitude, who would also function in their team. It was decided to appoint Klaas Breur next to Henri Lokkerbol, as head of the department and also professor and department head at the teaching hospital of the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

In December 1964 Dr. Henri Lokkerbol resigns.In the annual report of the NKI-AVL it is regretted that cooperation between the radiologist-engineer Lokkerbol and radiologist-scientist Breur was not achieved. But that was too much to ask for from Lokkerbol after he had been indisputable head of department and pioneer for nearly 20 years. He left for the hospital in Heerlen, in the south of The Netherlands. There he would lay the foundation for the Radiotherapy Institute of Limburg, that later merged into Maastro Clinic in the neighbouring city of Maastricht.