What Is Medical and what Is Legal About Disability?

  • E. Chigier
Part of the Medicolegal Library book series (MEDICOLEGAL, volume 3)


Although disabled people have been part of the community since the beginning of mankind, the organized scientific approach known as rehabilitative medicine is very new, having only become recognized as a special area of medicine after the Second World War. Renowned physicians such as Drs. Rusk and Kessler in the United States and Dr. Guttman in the United Kingdom began to develop intensive, activated techniques aimed at restoring the disabled patient to maximal capacity as soon as possible after the onset of illness or organic damage. Rehabilitation was described as the “third arm of medicine,” after preventive and curative medicine. This concept has recently been challenged by many rehabilitative physicians who regard certain conditions such as spinal cord injury as requiring immediate and continuing care in a special rehabilitation department from the beginning, and not, as often happens, transfer (“dumping”) to a rehabilitation department from the acute wards of a hospital when nothing more can be done for the patient.


Spinal Cord Injury Cerebral Palsy Disable People Disable Person Legal Profession 
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  1. World Health Organization (1980) International classification of impairments, disabilities and handicaps: A manual of classification relating to the consequences of diseases. GenevaGoogle Scholar

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

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  • E. Chigier

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