UMCG – University Medical Centre Groningen
The University Medical Centre of Groningen (UMCG) is one of the biggest hospitals in the Netherlands.
More than 10.000 employees are working in the patiënt healthcare and leading scientific research. The UMCG has a close collaboration with the university of Groningen (RUG) in the context of education and scientific research. The UMCG offers basic healthcare as well as very specialised diagnostics, examination and treatment. The fundamental and clinical research of the UMCG is leading in the field of international science. The presence of unique bio-banks and state-of-the-art research facilities attracts scientists from all around the world. Furthermore, the UMCG is specialised in various subjects within the medical field. For instance the transplantation centre and the oncology centre contain unique developments.
Since 2006 the UMCG is certified to perform heart transplantations. At the moment, the hospital is the only hospital in the Netherlands and even one of the few hospitals in the world where all possible organ transplantations may be carried out. Examples are combined heart-lungtransplantations, lung-livertransplantations and even stemcelltransplantations.
TheUMCG is the first hospital in the Netherlands with an organ perfusion room. In this room, you can preserve organs for a longer period of time by flashing out the organs in a special machine. The preservability canbe extended with 7 up to 24 hours.
Due to this technique, the organs can be transplantated in a better or even an optimal condition and the scheduling of operations can be improved.
Recently the building of the UMC Groningen proton therapy centre (GPTC) has started on the campus of the UMCG. In the end of 2017, the first patients will be irradiated by protons. The UMCG has permission to treat 600 patients a year with protons in addition to the 4.500 patients treated with photons.
Protons are positively charged particles which will not release their maximum dose before reaching a certain depth of penetration. After reaching this dept, the protons will standstill and the radiation stops. Proton therapy is a form of radiation therapy in which the dose of radiation may be administered more accurately, causing less radiation in healthy tissues. As a result, the risk of adverse reactions due to radiation decreases. Standard indications for proton therapy are: eye cancer, skullbase cancer and cancer in children. It is also performed in patients with lung cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer. The healthy tissues of children are very sensitive for the effects of radiation. Radiation at a young age can lead to a lot of long term complications. For this reason a tumor in children is an indication for the use of protontherapy.
Euthanasia for children
The hospital was internationally in the news as a result of the controversial Groningen Protocol which was approved by the Public Prosecutor in Groningen. This protocol governs the terms and rules of conduct including the ability for a group of doctors to proceed with euthanasia and assisted suicide in young children and newborns without having to fear prosecution for this purpose by the Public Prosecutor.