VU University Medical Center
|VU University Medical Center Amsterdam|
VUmc as seen from the east
|Location||Zuidas, Amsterdam, The Netherlands|
|Affiliated university||VU University Amsterdam|
|Founded||1966 (as the Academic Hospital of the Vrije Universiteit)|
|Lists||Hospitals in The Netherlands|
The VU University Medical Center Amsterdam (Dutch: VU Medisch Centrum or VUmc) is the university hospital affiliated with the VU University Amsterdam. It was created in 2001 by the merger of the Academic Hospital of the VU University with the medical school of the VU University. It is one of the largest and leading hospitals of The Netherlands, located next to Amsterdam's A10 ringway in the southwestern part of the city, next to the campus of the VU University and close to Schiphol airport.
The VUmc has an intensive cooperation with the other university hospital of Amsterdam, the Academisch Medisch Centrum (Academic Medical Center), which is affiliated with the Universiteit van Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam), Amsterdam's other university.
Tertiary care departments include advanced trauma care, pediatric and neonatal intensive care, cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery, infectious diseases and other departments. A medical emergency rescue helicopter is also affiliated with the hospital.
Special units include:
- Cardiothoracic surgery
- Neonatal and pediatric surgery and intensive care
- Pediatric oncology
- Level I trauma center (including trauma helicopter)
24 Hours in A&E
The reputation of the institution has taken a downfall after reports in the media about the TV program 24 uur: tussen leven en dood (based on 24 Hours in A&E). A total of 35 high grade security cameras and 35 microphones were installed in the emergency department of the hospital, in the parking garage stood a container with monitors for every camera and production company staff. This lasted for a period of 16 days in January and February 2012. Taping would only be initiated after consent of the individual patient, by creating a protocol and by providing folders and posters in its emergency room, the VUmc attempted to safeguard its patients rights and interests.
It was expected that there would be patients that would need medical care before permission could be asked or given. Also patients in an emergency situation might fail to comprehend or to notice the posters and flyers informing of the camera's. The VUmc had not foreseen this would mean secretly letting a 3rd party in on confidential matters and that this could mean it would be breaking the law, its own code of ethics and national guidelines.
Although it already had received complaints, the VUmc publicly denied allegations were made, only admitting to wrongdoing in a single case. After several unsuccessful television interviews with its directors the hospital fell silent, changing its media policy and only commenting in written press statements including a public apology. The way the program was made and the handling of the media afterwards raised questions about the competence of the directors in the press, in parliament and among medical staff at the VUmc.
After broadcasting  the first episode the show was cancelled  at the request of the VUmc. The hospital, the producers and the network agreed to share in the production cost of the program, totalling almost 600.000 Euros. This was again criticized in both the press and parliament for the alleged misuse of funds supposedly earmarked for healthcare.
Initially 3 patients made charges   against the hospital, the production company and individuals involved for the breaking of doctor-patient confidentiality, illegal wire tapping and the breach of Dutch privacy laws. The public attorney's office is currently investigating the matter but has yet to file charges. Over 1500 patients were treated at the time of the filming, 215 of them were found to be of interest to the program and only they were asked for permission, 65 of them refused to give permission.