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August 31, 1957


JAMA. 1957;164(18):2052. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980180054014

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Each year an estimated 250,000 Americans become sufficiently disabled to require rehabilitation services. Along with our increased population and longevity, we see more congenital malformations, more chronic illnesses, and more crippling conditions from accidents. Yet there are at least two million physically handicapped adults who could be rehabilitated to the point of gainful employment.

That picture presents a staggering view of the future: Unless something is done about using the disabled, in the next generation there will be a drag of one chronically ill person, one physically handicapped person, or one unproductive oldster economically saddled upon every American worker who is able-bodied. Such a prospect creates a high priority challenge to management, labor, and government—to every thinking citizen—because it foreshadows a socioeconomic crisis of first magnitude. It is an even sharper challenge to the medical community, because no amount of big spending or good intentions can enable the disabled to

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