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June 1971

Spinal Cord Injury

Author Affiliations

West Roxbury, Mass

Arch Surg. 1971;102(6):539-540. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1971.01350060003002

The incidence of civilian spinal cord injuries in the United States has been estimated at 5,000 per year.1 That this figure is an estimate instead of a documented fact suggests the lack of organization in the approach to this problem. It is even more difficult to establish the number of living spinal cord injury patients in the country: guesses—and they are no more than that, however well-informed—put this at between 75,000 and 125,000 and the truth very probably lies within these limits. In any event it is a formidable figure when interpreted in terms of human needs, the more so since it must be acknowledged that a majority of these people are not being cared for as they should be. The fact is that knowledge of how this is to be done has now run ahead of the means for doing it. With the best treatment now available, instituted

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