Sister Kenny: The Woman Who Challenged the Doctors
by Victor Cohn
University of Minnesota Press, 1976
Paper: 978-0-8166-5733-9


Sister Kenny was first published in 1976. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

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.

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