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February 4, 1950


Author Affiliations

New York

From New York University College of Medicine, Instructor, Department of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine (Dr Sverdlik); Professor and Chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine (Dr. Rusk).

JAMA. 1950;142(5):321-324. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910230023006

There is no more formidable disability in medical experience than quadriplegia. In the past, this disability has been approached with an attitude of hopelessness and futility by both physician and patient. The following report which outlines experience over the past two years with a group of 23 patients who were quadriplegic when admitted to the Rehabilitation Wards at Bellevue Hospital refutes the validity of this attitude.

All the patients in this series had pathologic conditions of the spinal cord in the cervical region due to trauma or disease. Those with progressive diseases such as multiple sclerosis were not included. The 23 cases included 10 of traumatic origin (fracture, fracture-dislocation, dislocation and contusion), 3 poliomyelitis; 3 bony exostosis (hypertrophic arthritis), and 2 arachnoiditis. The remaining cases included hemangioma, multiple neurofibromatosis (von Recklinghausen's disease) and 1 intrinsic cord lesion of undetermined causation.

In evaluating quadriplegia, the first consideration is to determine the

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