Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Men

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 26 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2795
  1. Kate Robertson, specialty doctor
  1. 1Fairhaven Young People’s Unit, Warrington
  1. katharine.robertson{at}

    The Men is a film still worth watching. Historically, the prognosis of spinal cord injury was appalling. Harvey Cushing cited 80% mortality in the first two weeks for men who sustained spinal cord injuries during the first world war. These injured young men were seen as incurable and untreatable. Hidden away, they were left to die, avoided by healthcare staff and forgotten by the public. O H Gotch’s 1923 BMJ article on traumatic paraplegia reflects the prevailing therapeutic nihilism at the time: “his progress cannot be other than gradually downwards . . .”

    In the 1930s things began to change. Herbert Everest and Harry Jennings invented their portable self propelled wheelchair (Everest …

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