effex (_fx) wrote in little_details,

Care for someone with paraplegia, 1960s vs Today

I've got a modern ER doctor (from London, in case it makes a difference) who's briefly transported back to 1963. While she's there (then?) she meets a man who's recently become paraplegic. What, if anything, can she do to help him?

The man was shot in the spine (the bullet lodged in the lower thoracic or lumbar, not much damage was done to anything except the spine) and quickly rushed to the hospital. He's recently discharged, living at home (near New York City) with several family members and a part-time nurse, when the doctor meets him.

Our doctor's in her early 30s and is at least three years past her residency. She doesn't have any of her own equipment or reference material with her (aside from possibly some medical apps on her iPhone).

Research's given me a basic idea of what his immediate care would be like (x-rays, followed by surgery/spinal stabilization, bed rest/recovery, and physical therapy), what wouldn't be available at the time (cat-scans, MRIs, steroids to reduce swelling, current physical therapy techniques, etc), what kind of wheelchair he'd use, and what the long-term complications and care would be like. I still need to know:

* How soon would he be discharged from the hospital?

* What medication would he be on?

* What was physical therapy in the 1960s like?

* How long would it be before he could use a wheelchair for extended periods of time? The Internet tells me it currently takes 2-4 weeks, would it be longer/shorter in the 60s?

* And the big one: what, if any, procedures/practices/medicine would our doctor know to recommend (and would do any good a week or two after injury and surgery)? There's a lot she could suggest re: making his house more accessible but after that I'm at a loss.

Searched: this comm ('medicine: injuries: gunshot wounds' and 'medicine: injuries (misc)' tags) and Google (search terms: various combinations of paraplegia, 1960(s), treatment, history, spinal cord injury, physical therapy, physiotherapy, medication).

Thanks in advance for anything you can tell me!
Tags: 1960-1969, uk: health care and hospitals, ~medicine: historical, ~medicine: injuries: gunshot wounds, ~medicine: paralysis

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