Dutch cancer charity KWF Kankerbestrijding has abandoned an advertising campaign after widespread protests on social media channels.
The organisation has removed the eight short videos from YouTube and closed down the website where they were hosted.
The campaign was titled Aandacht AUB (attention please) and aimed to highlight the way cancer patients are often ignored or not taken seriously.
The films take the form of short, over the top sketches. In one, a doctor laughs her way through a mobile phone conversation complaining about being overworked, while two people undergo chemotherapy.
In another, a doctor makes a joke out of being nervous about test results. In a third, a doctor tells a patient she is going to die and then says ‘don’t look so difficult. Do you need the toilet?’
In a short statement the organisation said: ‘We note the campaign ‘attention please’ is creating more confusion than clarity and therefore threatens to miss its target. So we have decided to stop it.’
The organisation said the films had been widely tested with patients and healthcare workers. The campaign was aimed at healthcare workers but has since been picked up by the wider public.
Utrecht teaching hospital ethics expert Ghislaine van Thiel said using Twitter: ‘Imagine you’ve got cancer and you are confronted by this. A total failure.’
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