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Doctor Bob - Van Mierop MD Lodewyk
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Doctor Bob - Van Mierop MD Lodewyk

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The story of a boy named Lodewyk van Mierop, born in Java from Dutch parents, fascinated by nature and science from an early age. During the Pacific War, after nearly all of Southeast Asia, had been overrun by the Japanese, all western nationals were interned. Men and boys over 17 years were kept in camps separate from those housing women, children and old men. The initial strong conviction among the camp inmates was that the Allied armed forces would defeat the Japanese in a few months and things would return to pre-war conditions was not realized and the internees languished for three or more years in the camps under harsh treatment. They suffered humiliation, beatings and starvation. Possession of books and writing material was prohibited although courageous men were able to smuggle these in and keep any records hidden until war’s end. By working in the various camp kitchens Lodewyk was able to supplement his meager diet some and left the camp after the war at 6’2” and 130 lbs., skinny but in reasonably good health. As soon as the opportunity presented itself he signed up for a job on a ship which repatriated Dutch nationals, and arrived 6 days later in Holland. He was able to complete high school and make up two of the three lost years with the help of several of the high school teachers, who sacrified their summer vacations to teach him and two other camp boys. The other two elected to accept a so-called “London Diploma”. This was not an option for Lodewyk: a standard High School Diploma was required to enter Medical School at Leiden University, where he was able to gain the third and last of the three lost years by completing the normal seven years curriculum in six years. He then decided to respond to an advertisement in the medical Journal “Lancet” inviting recent medical school graduates to apply for house officer positions at the Albany Hospital. N.Y. He spent the next 7 years on a visitors visa in Albany, N.Y. having applied for and been accepted for a surgical residency. Under US law he then had to leave the USA for two years before he could apply for an immigration visa. These two years he spent in Holland and as a pediatric resident at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately he had to overcome an unexpected bureaucratic nightmare first. The US then had no immigration quota for Asians, and since the Dutch East Indies postwar had become Indonesia, he was now considered Asian, under US law. A Dutch passport, Dutch parents, blond hair and green eyes, an American wife and children were not helpful. Fortunately he could easily emigrate from Holland to Canada. After about a year there, he re-applied for an immigration visa to the US and inexplicably he suddenly was no longer considered Indonesian and had no trouble at all getting a visa. Once back in Albany he decided to a career change to Pediatric Cardiology. He became interested in research in cardiovascular embryology, the pathology of congenital heart disease and was board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Cardiology after some other bureaucratic hurdles. He was able to attract ample funding from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association to support his research, acquired a national and international reputation in the fields of Embryology and Pathogenesis of Congenital Heart Disease and was privileged to witness and contribute to the birth and growth of cardiac surgery in children.

EAN: 9781432771294
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Van Mierop MD Lodewyk
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