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Leslie W. Freeman, M.D., Ph.D.
JAMA. 1959;171(1):54-56. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010190056015.
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THE recent tragic events leading to the incapacity of a great athlete with the subsequent rehabilitation program which led to his return to an active capacity with the Los Angeles Dodgers have served to focus renewed interest on spinal cord injuries. Most practitioners of medicine became acquainted with the problem during their student days, when these patients were considered to have a hopeless prognosis. Urinary sepsis, decubitus ulceration, and severe flexor spasms were some of the complications which caused the early death of almost every patient. However, the antibiotics, tidal drainage, blood transfusion, techniques of rehabilitation, and other developments have brought about a complete change in the outlook for these patients. Indeed, it is rare that one of these patients who lives to reach a medical facility equipped for specialized care will die as a result of the paraplegia alone. However, the incidents surrounding the early handling of the patient


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