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January 1949

ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY IN THE ARMY AIR FORCES DURING WORLD WAR II: III. Psychologic Problems, Convalescent Care and Rehabilitation

Author Affiliations

This article was prepared for publication by the Orthopaedic History Committee of the Office of the Air Surgeon (Major James V. Luck, Medical Corps, Chairman, Chanute Field, Ill.; Major Hugh M. A. Smith, Medical Corps, Santa Ana Army Air Base, Calif., and Lieutenant Colonel Henry B. Lacey, Medical Corps, Hamilton Field, Calif., and the Senior Orthopaedic Consultant of the Office of the Air Surgeon, Colonel Alfred R. Shands Jr., Medical Corps, Headquarters Army Air Forces, Washington, D. C. It is a publication of the Surgical Branch of the Professional Division, Office of the Air Surgeon, Headquarters Army Air Forces, Washington, D. C.

Arch Surg. 1949;58(1):75-88. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1949.01240030078009

PSYCHOLOGIC PROBLEMS  THROUGHOUT World War II, it was repeatedly urged that all medical officers learn psychiatric principles. Menninger1 stated: "... whether a medical officer is a battalion surgeon, or an orthopedist in a hospital, a dispensary physician or an induction board examiner, he will have numerous occasions when he must exercise psychiatric judgment. Probably more truly than in civilian life, every medical officer is faced with personality deviations." Military orthopedic surgeons soon came to realize there was no alternative to learning more about the psychiatric aspect of orthopedic problems. A steady stream of patients presenting psychogenic musculoskeletal symptoms was referred to orthopedic sections. In the beginning, the disability in many of these patients was labeled organic, and they were given long periods of hospitalization and intensive orthopedic therapy, which occasionally included surgical treatment. Gradually the true character of the disability in these patients was discovered. As time passed and experience

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