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February 5, 1997

When Walking Fails

Author Affiliations

Western Health Services, PC Springfield, Mass

JAMA. 1997;277(5):373. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540290025015

To the Editor.  —If Dr Iezzoni1 had lost her vision and told us about going to lighting stores and talking to opticians, would we not be amazed that she had not consulted an ophthalmologist? Why then should we not be amazed that she did not consult a physiatrist when she lost her ability to walk? Perhaps because medical schools, notably her own, have until very recently so marginalized rehabilitation that, even today, I am sure that only a minority of Dr Iezzoni's colleagues are aware that their own medical school now has a rehabilitation program and even fewer have ever referred a patient to it. Almost 50 years after the establishment of its certifying board, physiatry and the help it can provide to people like Dr Iezzoni remain, unfortunately, little known.