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Sister Kenny

The Woman Who Challenged the Doctors

Author:

Victor Cohn

Sister Kenny

“This is a fascinating story of indomitable courage in the face of doubts, skepticism, and opposition. It is a moving, readably written, sensitive account to refresh our fading memories of the days when polio was rampant.”
--Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the Salk polio vaccine

“Victor Cohn has not only caught the spirit of this great woman but has recorded her life with accuracy, compassion, and excitement!”
--Rosalind Russell, star of the film Sister Kenny

“Sister Kenny literally gave new lives to thousands of paralyzed polio victims and was a pioneer in helping to establish modern rehabilitation. Victor Cohn tells the poignant and dramatic story of her heartbreaks, her victories, and her unflinching courage and indomitable spirit.”
--Dr. Howard Rusk, director, Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University

“Those who remember the stark terror caused by polio also remember the courageous battle waged by Sister Kenny to change the treatment of this disease. As mayor of a polio-stricken city -- Minneapolis -- I witnessed first hand the hope that her efforts brought to the afflicted. Victor Cohn has written a first-rate account of this extraordinary woman.”
--Hubert H. Humphrey, United States Senator

“Sister Kenny was in many ways a model for today’s health feminists, the women who still confront an overwhelmingly male medical establishment. This biography reveals much that is new and amazing about this woman who was part charlatan and part saint.”
--Barbara Seaman, health feminist, author of Free and Female

“A dramatic story about a dramatic person, who favorably influenced the management of the acute stage of poliomyelitis, by one of America’s outstanding medical writers.”
--Dr. Albert Sabin, developer of the Sabin polio vaccine

“Victor Cohn’s biography of Sister Kenny is as interesting and exciting as Miss Kenny’s achievements. She is a major twentieth-century medical figure.”
--Dr. Audrey B. Davis, curator of medical sciences, Smithsonian Institution

Sister Elizabeth Kenny, the Australian-born nurse, is remembered by thousands of grateful parents and grandparents of young polio patients, as well as others who were less personally affected, as the woman who successfully fought the medical profession to win acceptance of her techniques to combat the crippling effects of this disease.

In this biography Victor Cohn, a prize-winning science writer, details the life of Sister Kenny and her significant role in the history of medicine. It is an inspiring story and one which will be of particular interest to those of the present generation who are engaged in the movement for women’s equality. Sister Kenny’s struggle against the bitter opposition of many doctors to her concepts for the treatment of polio dramatized the then common attitude of male chauvinism on the part of the medical profession toward nurses.

The biography traces Sister Kenny’s life from her birth in Australia, through her early nursing career in the bush, to her rise to prominence in America. Much of the narrative focuses on her confrontation with the medical establishment. Throughout, the author writes from an objective viewpoint, and in conclusion he assesses Sister Kenny’s accomplishments.

Sister Kenny

Victor Cohn was a science and medical reporter for the Washington Post. While on the staff of the Minneapolis Tribune he covered the story of Sister Kenny and her work in Minneapolis, where she achieved her success and fame. Mr. Cohn won many honors, among them, the Albert Lasker medical journalism award, two Westinghouse prizes of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Howard W. Blakeslee award of the American Heart Association, and the James T. Grady award of the American Chemical Society.

Sister Kenny

“This is a fascinating story of indomitable courage in the face of doubts, skepticism, and opposition. It is a moving, readably written, sensitive account to refresh our fading memories of the days when polio was rampant.”
--Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the Salk polio vaccine

“Victor Cohn has not only caught the spirit of this great woman but has recorded her life with accuracy, compassion, and excitement!”
--Rosalind Russell, star of the film Sister Kenny

“Sister Kenny literally gave new lives to thousands of paralyzed polio victims and was a pioneer in helping to establish modern rehabilitation. Victor Cohn tells the poignant and dramatic story of her heartbreaks, her victories, and her unflinching courage and indomitable spirit.”
--Dr. Howard Rusk, director, Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University

“Those who remember the stark terror caused by polio also remember the courageous battle waged by Sister Kenny to change the treatment of this disease. As mayor of a polio-stricken city -- Minneapolis -- I witnessed first hand the hope that her efforts brought to the afflicted. Victor Cohn has written a first-rate account of this extraordinary woman.”
--Hubert H. Humphrey, United States Senator

“Sister Kenny was in many ways a model for today’s health feminists, the women who still confront an overwhelmingly male medical establishment. This biography reveals much that is new and amazing about this woman who was part charlatan and part saint.”
--Barbara Seaman, health feminist, author of Free and Female

“A dramatic story about a dramatic person, who favorably influenced the management of the acute stage of poliomyelitis, by one of America’s outstanding medical writers.”
--Dr. Albert Sabin, developer of the Sabin polio vaccine

“Victor Cohn’s biography of Sister Kenny is as interesting and exciting as Miss Kenny’s achievements. She is a major twentieth-century medical figure.”
--Dr. Audrey B. Davis, curator of medical sciences, Smithsonian Institution