Sep 5, 2012

Rancho Los Amigos

Post Polio Syndrome
Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center has been treating polio patients for more than half a century. Extensive clinical experience and research contribute to its international reputation in diagnosis and management of the post-polio syndrome.

Dr. Jacquelin Perry, orthopedic surgeon and Director of the center has nearly 50 years of experience in acute poliomyelitis and the post-polio syndrome. Staffing includes an orthopedic surgeon, physical and occupational therapists, and orthotists, all specially trained in the post-polio syndrome.

The center also uses the Pathokinesiology Laboratory for instrumented diagnosis of complex gait dysfunction and the definition of disability. Consequently, there is a strong factual basis for our therapeutic programs designed to improve function through lifestyle modification guidance, customized orthotic prescriptions, individualized exercise prescriptions and selective reconstructive surgery.

Orthotics and Prosthetics
Orthotic and prosthetic services at Rancho are provided by outside contractors.

Prosthetic services (artificial limbs)

Currently provided by Hanger, Inc., a large public corporation with an office near Rancho. For more information see Telephone: (562) 803-3322.

Orthotic services (orthopedic braces)

Provided through a non-profit corporation, the Los Amigos Research & Education Institute, Inc. Their offices are conveniently located on Rancho grounds. Telephone: (562) 940-7655.

The Orthotic Department dates back to the 1950’s when Rancho was primarily a polio treatment center. Several orthoses have been developed at Rancho that are widely used today. These include the HALO spinal immobilization system, the wrist-driven wrist-hand orthosis, which allows patients with hand paralysis to feed themselves and do other activities of daily living, and the Linear Mobile Arm Support, which provides arm support for wheelchair patients with upper limb paralysis.

Today the department provides a full range of orthotic services to the various diagnostic areas served by Rancho. Service is provided to both inpatients and outpatients. Common diagnoses that utilize orthotic management include:

Spinal cord injury
Head trauma
Muscle disease
Post polio syndrome
Orthotic devices provide body support and help increase mobility and function. The braces – called orthoses - include leg braces, back supports, hand and wrist supports, and specialized shoes and inserts. Most devices are custom made for each individual client.

Staff Orthotists are part of a multi-disciplinary team that works together to develop an assessment and treatment plan for our clients. Practitioners consult with Rancho therapists and physicians to determine the best design for each patient. The department’s on-site location allows quick response and follow-up to the needs of the medical center, as well as easy access for clinic patients.

Two areas where the department has especially strong involvement are post-polio syndrome and diabetes. Staff understands the unique needs of the post-polio survivor and, when indicated, can provide a light-weight, functional orthosis to help improve gait and function. The diabetic patient often benefits from specialized footwear and custom inserts to redistribute weight-bearing forces to help protect their skin.

Department practitioners, as well as the department itself, are accredited by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics-Prosthetics.
For additional information contact:
Darrell R. Clark, BS, CO
Tel: (562) 940-7655
Los Amigos Research and Education Institute, Inc.
Loren Saxton San Francisco 415-476-1167
Stanley Yarnell, MD San Fransisco 415-750-5762
Michael Beverly, MD San Jose 408-885-2000 Rehab
Ethan R. Etnyer, MD San Jose 805-349-1202
Barbara Bammann, MD Sonora 209-532-3161 Ext: 2752
Selma H Calmes, MD Sylmar 818-364-4350
Carol B Vandenakker, MD University Of California 916-734-7041
Glenn H Ham-Rosebrock, CO Van Nuys 818-988-003


Before the discovery of a vaccine to prevent polio, this paralytic disease was feared across the world. In 1952, Adrian Wilson and Paul R. Williams submitted this drawing for a new post-polio and Respiratory Center unit at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Downey, California. The $1,700,000 structure was completed in 1953 and officially dedicated in February 1955.
(Los Angeles Times. February 18, 1955)
This rehabilitation facility housed 200 polio patients, some ambulatory and others confined to iron lungs. To insure the continued operation of the electric breathing machines during emergencies, the architects included auxiliary power sources. This was an innovative idea for that time. Wilson and Williams incorporated many of the same ideas they used in their home designs in the hospital to let patients continue to enjoy the out-of-doors California life-style. Covered porches adjoining the wards were equipped with electrical outlets for respirators, rocking beds and even portable telephones.  Much of the funding for the new unit was provided by the L.A. March of Dimes and a county bond issue promoted by Citizens for the New Polio-Communicable Diseases Hospital
(Los Angeles Times, October 5 1949)
In his letter of support for Williams' nomination as a Fellow in AIA, County of Los Angeles Supervisor Arthur J. Will described the specialized Los Amigos Hospital and its place in the county's long-range plans for the "care of the indigent sick...or as an addition to already existing hospitals." Though the Wilson and Williams design was the smallest hospital built at that time in the county system, "This particular building is a triumph of beauty and science and is functional to the nth degree." (February 25, 1957)
México a la vanguardia en el Síndrome de Post Polio

Polio Film

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