Ten fun facts about Elizabeth Kenny


Fact 1
Her findings ran counter to conventional medical wisdom; they demonstrated the need to exercise muscles affected by polio instead of immobilizing them.

Fact 2
Kenny's principles of muscle rehabilitation became the foundation of physical therapy, or physiotherapy.

Fact 3
Sister Kenny is referenced in the TV movie An American Christmas Carol, in which the Tiny Tim character, Jonathan, would be sent for treatment for his disability (never referred to specifically, however, as polio).


Fact 4
Kenny claimed in her 1943 autobiography (co-authored by Martha Ostenso) that she treated her first cases of infantile paralysis in 1910.

Fact 5
Press reports from Australia during the 1930s quote Kenny as saying she developed her method while caring for meningitis patients on troopships during World War I.

Fact 6
She was adamantly opposed to immobilizing children's bodies with plaster casts or braces.

Fact 7
In 1937, she published an introductory book about her work and began another (The Treatment of Infantile Paralysis in The Acute Stage), which was later published in the United States.

Fact 8
Alan Alda credits the Sister Kenny treatments he received from his mother as a young boy for his complete recovery from polio, stating in his autobiography Never Have Your Dog Stuffed that he has no question about their efficacy.

Fact 9
The most comprehensive appraisal of her methods was published in collaboration with Dr. John Pohl in 1943.

Fact 10
Between 1935 and 1940, Kenny travelled extensively throughout Australia helping to set up clinics.


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Short about Elizabeth Kenny
was an unaccredited Australian nurse who promoted a controversial new approach to the treatment of poliomyelitis in the era before mass vaccination eradicated the disease in most countries

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