Medicine: Sister Kenny Endorsed

  • Share
  • Read Later

A revolutionary method of treatment for victims of acute infantile paralysis was endorsed last week by the Journal of the American Medical Association. It consists of hot compresses and exercises (TIME, June 23) developed by Sister* Elizabeth Kenny, a nurse in the Australian bush, who came to the U.S. last year, worked in Minneapolis hospitals.

Sister Kenny's treatment, which is effective if used as soon as the disease begins: 1) hot compresses are kept on the painful muscles to relieve spasms; 2) while the patient is still in bed, he is given gentle exercises to tone up and re-educate the muscles. In Minneapolis, about 100 victims in the early stages of infantile paralysis have been treated by the Kenny method.

Said Basil O'Connor, onetime law partner of President Roosevelt and head of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis: "The length of time during which pain, tenderness and spasm are present is greatly reduced and contractures caused by muscle shortening during . . . [the early] period are prevented by the Kenny method. The general physical condition of the patients receiving this treatment seems to be better than that of patients treated by some of the other methods."

*Miss Kenny is not a nun. In England and Australia, experienced graduate nurses are called Sister.