NEW HOPES, NEW DREAMS

CHRISTOPHER REEVE IS PREPARING TO WALK AGAIN. WHAT PROSPECTS CAN DOCTORS REALLY OFFER VICTIMS OF SPINAL-CORD INJURY?

To all appearances, Christopher Reeve is not moving. His hands lie in their black leather rests like fish on platters. Black straps hold them in place. A seat belt holds his midsection in place but is needed only when a spasm threatens to jolt his body from the chair. Otherwise he and the chair are one--the 6-ft. 4-in. frame of the man conforming to the contours of the black metal contraption that, with its array of tubes, dials, wheels and wires, looks to be part hospital, part tractor.

This is a Quickie P300, the Porsche of sip-and-puff wheelchairs. It has six...

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