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Here is another chapter in the story about polio documented at Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. This is blowing up the rescue staff once again by means of tape recording. I'm going to take you to the polio floor of Children's Hospital, where you will hear in song and word the story of those who are traveling a long road back. First, let's get one matter straight. If you have the notion that all these children are unhappy and spend their time feeling sorry for themselves or crying for their mothers, come along with me as I move about the corridor with a microphone. Now, here is a word with several children under two years of age.
Let's move to another ward and hear a bit of childish laughter, which I often heard and which I shall long remember. Later, I learned that this infectious happy giggle was a tonic to nearly every patient on the floor. Small children do not quite understand why nurses can't come running immediately upon demand. After all, there are other patients on the floor. Let's listen for a moment and see if we can hear an example of an insistent call for service.
I would not want to leave a false impression that these small children are always happy and contented are that they never cry. After all, it is a pretty tough assignment for them to be away from home for weeks or even months. Besides, there is so much discomfort and even pain that goes along with getting well. And so we are moved to sympathy as we move along the corridor and hear the sound. Boys are no angels. Polio are not, as I discovered in another ward.
Looking down the hallway, you see the familiar sight of boys and girls in wheelchairs on crutches are taking uneasy steps with braces. I don't feel sorry for them or they're happy about the progress they are making on the long road back. Let's find out more about what's done for these patients who are past the critical stage of polio. The sound you hear in the background is not a studio sound effect. It's the sound of a polio patient in a water tank in one of the rooms here on the polio floor. This is Veronese. Bishop is in charge of therapy on this floor and she's right here supervising the work on this particular tank. So let's have a word with her.
This was Bishop. Just what part does water therapy play in the whole process of polio treatment? Well, the tank gives us another medium for exercise in polio. We have pretty painful muscles. A lot of people are able to take these stretchers better in the warm water and also using water as a medium for using weakened muscles for the water, supporting the weight of an arm or leg person is able to learn to use that much better now. Could you explain just a little more in detail what is happening right here in this park and what the purpose of it is? All the gentleman in the tank have a week left leg, and right now he's Dranias need to his chest and down. He does that four or five times, then brings his leg out to the side and in rows, the leg in and out from the knee, bend the knees straight into his
knee and go through his ankle, foot motion. What are some of the other phases of therapy aside from the water therapy? Well, we have the program here at the hospital, and I have followed by exercise after a patient has reached the point where the pain is gone or partially gone and his muscles are strong enough to start a walking program. From there, we learn going up and down stairs, getting in and out of various types of chairs during the bathroom activities, starting to fall down without hurting myself, learning to get back up again, and generally all the problem peculiar to the patients household. In other words, when the patient is ready to go home, he's ready to invade the various situations that he finds at home. This bishop, there's one other question.
I understand you have an instructional program for the parents so that they can continue treatment for the patient when he goes home. Could you tell us a little about that? When the patient is officially discharged from the physical medicine program by the orthopod, by pediatrician, the parent is called and asked to come between eight thirty and four o'clock in the afternoon, allowing us time to go over there. The exercises with the parents have them. We demonstrate the exercises. We watch them do it. We ask for any questions, tell them about how much time they're supposed to be spent in bed, how much time up, what activities they are allowed or not allowed. Most children have bicycle if they want to ride again. With my first get home, we give them individual exercises for their child.
Thank you very much, Mrs Bishop. And now I'm going to step over to the tank here just a moment and ask the person who is in the tank what he thinks of it. What do you tell me what your name is there, the last day of work and where do you live? Uh, 1970 Brown Road. That's through city war. And how long have you been here at Children's Hospital? This makes the fourth week. Fourth week. And you're coming along all right? Yes, sir. Now, would you tell me just what you think of this water treatment? Well, I think it's a wonderful thing. It's to, uh, uh, live a lot more than you have to with up quite a bit more. And, uh, it makes you feel quite a bit, but it just makes you feel good when you get here. OK, well, thank you very much, both of you. Back in the corridor once more. And let's talk to the recreation director, Mr. Barnes, and see what part she plays and the program of recovery. We have movies which are one of our big entertainments during the week. And every usually Tuesday we have a movie which is really
look forward to we do a great deal with crafts and everything from beach to wood burning. That's an airplane model. We have reading material for them. Uh, anything that is particularly asked for, we try to get for the job. I was just wondering what you do about patients who are. Paralyzed and who are not able to handle these materials that you provide for them. What can you do for them? We have what we call projector's and they are like a magazine up on the ceiling can read on the ceiling, just like flipping a sweater at this point. Let's step into the office of Dr. Crede Ward, resident doctor, and ask him to sum up the important factors in the treatment of a polio patient. The important things are related to early hospitalization so that the patient is adequately managed medically in the acute phases of the illness and the later convalescents stages of the illness.
We find that it's important that the patient to have been maintained in good position or what we medically know is the polio prevention or during the time of their acute phase that proves that prevent some of the more crippling deformities that we have seen. It eases the pain and maintains great muscle function and flexibility. Aside from the medical management, particularly in the acute phase in the convalescent phase, physiotherapy consisting of active and passive medicine positioning, muscle strengthening exercises are important. And the third adjunct in the treatment at this stage is certainly that of orthopedic care, which may bring in the need for braces and joint positioning and even surgical intervention in those very chronic cases with a very, very long
convalescence and serious muscle ready joint involvement on the patient side and for each family. It's a matter of courage and prayer and the kind of family and a patient should have that he is going to get. Well, because we have seen in many instances the improvement in the patient then dependent upon his belief in himself that he is going to recover. Are the chances of good recovery fairly good if one gets polio? Dr. Warren? Yes, it is. In fact, more than 50 percent of the patients will have a diagnosed case of poliomyelitis or have no further symptoms beyond the acute stage. And a great many of these cases go unrecognized and diagnosed during the regular season of
the remaining percent. Practically all of them were recovered without any paralytic involvement. In fact, about 25 percent of the remaining will not have any paralytic involvement. Of all the patients getting polio, about 25 to 30 percent of their mesial paralytic signs, maybe a sign of some weakness or muscle are not involved. And showing the involvement, one half of them will completely recover. When we add it up, we have somewhere about three to five percent of our patients who are left with any serious residual. And these are almost all instances show some improvement over their original acute involvement. The happiest moment of all comes when the patient is ready to go home. Now let's talk with a little girl who is just ready to leave the hospital.
What's your name? Joyce. Joyce what? Joyce. How old are you then? Uh, Joyce, how long have you been here at Children's Hospital? Six months and three days. You certainly know, don't you? Just exactly how long does it seem like a long time to you? Are you live, Joyce? Campbellton, Campbellton, Ohio. You look like you're pretty happy today. Tell me why that is. I can go home going home. And I think we're all pretty happy about the home today. Do you have any brothers and sisters? I got three sisters and went back and kidnaping. Do you have any pets? Yeah. What happened? Oh my goodness. Oh, hope so. You know, I just wondering, what do you suppose those pets will do when you walk in the door today after being away six weeks? Is it six weeks and three days? What do you suppose they'll do now? They'll be pretty happy to stay warm and you'll be glad to see them.
This Is Polio
Episode Number
No. 3
The Long Road Back
Producing Organization
WOSU (Radio station : Columbus, Ohio)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
This is Episode Three, "The Long Road Back."
Series Description
"Four documentary programs on polio, intended to give the general public better understanding of symptoms, treatment, chances for recovery, effects upon patients, parents and the work of the polio foundation. Recorded in waiting room and polio ward at Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio. Patients, parents, doctors, nurses, narrator and others participate. Appropriate for use during polio campaign."--1952 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Narrator: Ewing, Bill
Producing Organization: WOSU (Radio station : Columbus, Ohio)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-3812897c9a7 (Filename)
Format: Grooved analog disc
Generation: Transcription disc
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Chicago: “This Is Polio; No. 3; The Long Road Back,” 1952, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 27, 2022,
MLA: “This Is Polio; No. 3; The Long Road Back.” 1952. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 27, 2022. <>.
APA: This Is Polio; No. 3; The Long Road Back. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from