Conception, Birth, Infancy, and Adolescence of the Juvenile Amputee Program in North America

NEWTON McCOLLOUGH, JR., MDPresidential Guest Speaker


Tom Aitken, MD and Charles Frantz, MD were fellow residents who attended hospital clinics primarily sponsored by the Michigan Crippled Children's Commission. They conceived modern management of juvenile amputees in 1946 in an effort to reverse the neglect which young patients experienced at the time. The birth of the program occurred in 1948 when Frantz and Aitken brought together a team consisting of the clinic chief, a physician, the amputee, the prosthetist who usually served also as an orthotist, physical and occupational therapists, the clinical nurse, and the social worker. The team saw all child amputees prior to surgery or prosthetic prescription and after prosthetic delivery.

Chiefs of thirteen clinics met in Washington in 1961, marking the adolescence of the program, for they were a little awkward, yet intense, hard working, and tirelessly enthusiastic about the project. They agreed to the need for a regular publication to share information gathered between annual meetings, the start of the Inter-Clinic Information Bulletin. Soon the organization approached a semblance of maturity with the addition of Canadian clinics. Besides debating the merits of various clinical procedures, the organization sponsored field testing of new components. In the early 1960s, schools were organized to teach about juvenile amputees. As a signal of the completion of our maturity, an impressive group of symposia was held and the papers published under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences -National Research Council. In 1978, the clinic chiefs gave unanimous approval to the concept of a free-standing organization, with Leon Kruger, MD elected as first president in 1979.

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