Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor:
Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA;
Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia
Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.
This book catalogues nonoperative management for spinal injuries from
antiquity through the 20th century. The wealth of detail on rehabilitation
techniques and practitioners will interest rehabilitation specialists and
students of the history of medicine. For example, in an effort to treat spinal
dislocation, Avicenna in the 10th century trod on the kyphotic area, and Paré
in the 16th century added external traction to local compression.
By contrast, the best part of the volume will benefit all physicians.
The book shows how Sir Ludwig Guttmann created the world’s first comprehensive
spine injury center. Prior to Guttmann’s trailblazing work, patients
with spinal injuries were neglected, often suffered decubiti and urinary infections,
and incurred mortality rates up to 60%. At the National Spinal Injuries Centre,
Guttmann and his team gave these patients greatly diminished complication
and mortality rates along with hope and dignity. Dr John Silver, who worked
under Guttmann and went on to a career in spinal injury rehabilitation, is
uniquely qualified to tell this important and uplifting story.
Crowell RM. Spinal Injuries. JAMA. 2005;293(12):1521-1525. doi:10.1001/jama.293.12.1523